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Volvo Abu Dhabi stopover will be bigger and better

James Jose / 31 May 2013

With 18 months to go, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is going all-out to ensure the Volvo Ocean Race stopover is bigger, better and even more top notch.

The Capital, which became the first Arab destination to welcome the 40-year old race in 2012, will again be the stopover between December 15, 2014 to January 3, 2015. Abu Dhabi will play a much bigger role as compared to last year.

Before the Abu Dhabi stopover, more than 70 decision makers and stakeholders from the UAE and the international travel and tourism industry were given the chance to get involved with the event from the start. They are expected to leverage the race hosting to the full.

The TCA Abu Dhabi, which is behind the Everest of Sailing’s return to Abu Dhabi, outlined its race hosting plans and invited the industry to share ideas on how to maximise it.

“Last year, we made history by hosting the Volvo Ocean Race. Our event sent waves on the global arena and put our name, high up on the tourism map,” Faisal Al Shaikh, Director of Events Bureau, TCA Abu Dhabi, said.

“We have secured premier dates for the next event which is from mid-December throughout the New Year. We can maximise visitors during Christmas and New Year. We can do a lot more this time,” he added.

TCA Abu Dhabi said it is targeting across-the-board growth for its second hosting of the global sailing odyssey with a forecasted 30% economic impact uplift to $61 million and 15% increase to 36,000 room nights as well as a 15% increase in media values throughout the race to $115 million.

“Now that we’re welcoming back this iconic race to our shores in December 2014, we want to take our marine proposition to new heights and truly activate this great city to create a mega stopover,” said Faisal Al Shaikh.

“We have very clear objectives about what we want to achieve: to highlight the destination’s watersports offering, engage the local community, leverage our maritime legacy, upgraded infrastructure and growing sailing fan base, create a world-class experience, unify our buoyant watersports industry and create a compelling visitor proposition that benefits the whole industry and local community,” he added.

Faisal Al Shaikh confirmed that Ian Walker will again be the skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR). The Briton, who is a two-time Olympic silver medallist, was the captain when the race made its stopber in Abu Dhabi for the first time.

And unlike previous editions, all teams will use one-design boats rather than build their own boats. The teams will use the Volvo Ocean 65 for the next two editions of the Race.

Abu Dhabi will welcome the Volvo Ocean Race fleet from Recife, Brazil in December 2014 after one of the longest and potentially most-gruelling legs in race history (9,707 nautical miles). The Abu Dhabi In-Port Race, which was won by home favourites Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) in the last edition, will take place on January 2, 2015, with the fleet departing for Sanya, China the following day. 

The Volvo Ocean Race will go across 10 cities in nine countries — Spain, Brazil, the UAE, China, New Zealand, USA, Portugal, France and Sweden.

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