Sir Bani Yas wildlife park opens in winter


From October, tourists will be able to stay on Sir Bani Yas Island when the first phase of Abu Dhabi’s unique Desert Islands destination is opened.

The former private eco-retreat of the UAE’s late President His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the island is at the core of the multi-experiential Desert Islands destination and will be the first step in unlocking the latent potential of Abu Dhabi’s western region, according to Lee Tabler, CEO, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) and the name behind Desert Islands.
Tabler was speaking at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, he believed that the Desert Islands, which comprises eight islands and an onshore gate just off the coast of Jebel Dhanna, a 250 kilometre drive from Abu Dhabi city, will be a flagship destination designed to “invigorate and inspire”.
In October guests will be able to stay in the five star, 64 room boutique Desert Islands Resort and Spa, or its beach villas and six two-bedroom Royal villas, being managed by Thai hospitality group Anantara Resorts & Spas. Five dining options are available.
Alternatively, guests can stay in a tented Arabian beach side camp where they can relax in nature without even leaving their room.
Adventure activities will include 4x4 guided tours of the Arabian Wildlife Park, hiking trails, mountain-biking and snorkeling.
“Desert Islands has been master planned as a regional benchmark in environmental, conser-vation and ecological tourism. “This destination will help us assert our sustainability credentials. It will be the quintessential vacation escape enabling tourists to access the previously inaccessible,” said Tabler.
“Managed sensitively, with respect for local culture and traditions, Desert Islands will provide a significant economic boost to the region and the lives of nationals living there - increasing employment, education and investment opportunities.”
Desert Islands is expected to generate US$326 million in tourism revenues when fully operational by 2020 and create a total of 6,500 jobs.
The tourism potential of Abu Dhabi’s western region will be given a further boost next year with the planned September 2009 opening of the deluxe Qasr Al Sarab retreat in the Liwa desert in the Empty Quarter (Rub Al Khali).
“Additional development concepts for the region are currently being progressed and will address the business, as well as the leisure tourism segments,” said Tabler.