x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Big boost for Western Region on the way

More tourism, help for small businesses and more urban growth, including high-rise waterfront, promised as well as preservation for Liwa.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is promoting the Western Region, which boasts such gems as the beach in Barka.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is promoting the Western Region, which boasts such gems as the beach in Barka.

Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi's Western Region is to undergo major developments with increasing tourism opportunities among the highest priorities along with more urban growth, it was announced today. Mohammed Hamad bin Azzan al Mazrouei, the director general of the Western Regional Development Council, said supporting small and medium businesses is also high on the agenda. Mr al Mazrouei, who was speaking as he toured the Liwa Date Festival, outlined how the development council was working closely with different bodies on several projects.

'We have worked on a joint plan with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, our strategic partner, to support tourism establishments in the Western Region and to propose new ideas for developing tourism, especially environmental tourism and safaris, as well as demonstrating the Bedouin traditional way of life," said Mr al Mazrouei. The plans look to the future while maintaining the heritage of the region. As part of the Western Region 2030 plan, several areas have been allocated for more urban development, including a waterfront with high-rise buildings, while Liwa is to be preserved as one of the old cities to maintain the genuine culture and original essence of the area, Mr al Mazrouei added.

The development council has also been working closely with the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. Several fortresses in the region have been renovated. Supporting local businesses, small and medium, to support the region's economy will be done in coordination with partners, including the Khalifa Fund to Support and Develop Small and Medium Enterprises, which was set up in 2007 to encourage UAE nationals to venture into business. Mr al Mazrouei also revealed that the development council wants to establish a database for the Western Region, which can be used by, for example, potential investors seeking opportunities in the area.

The development council has signed an agreement with the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi and spoken to specialist consultants to carry out economic surveys of the region. * The National