The redeveloped Al Mirfa port was opened on Wednesday by the Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, one of a five planned as part of an economic development scheme for the Western Region.
The port project included converting the natural harbour into a fully enclosed facility with several dozen jetties for local commercial fishermen, as well as construction of a new ice house, a fish market building and a nearby restaurant to serve tourism.
“The development of the Western Region’s ports is a strategic priority,” said Mr Al Jaber, who also serves as chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports.
The Al Mirfa Port project will be followed by developments of Mugharrag Port, Delma Port, Sila Port and Sir Bani Yas in the Western Region next year.
“In the Delma island we are constructing a new multi-facility port to serve the Delma population – like Mirfa but bigger,” said Mohamed Al Shamisi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports.
As well as supporting traditional industry, the multi-port development is particularly aimed at fostering tourism in the western part of Abu Dhabi along the road to Saudi Arabia, with Sir Bana Yas and nearby offshore islands the site of renowned nature sanctuaries.
Sir Bani Yas opens next year to cruise ships and as Mr Al Shamisi says it will be the second in Abu Dhabi to secure such deals after the announcement two weeks ago that Mina Zayed will start receiving the tourist ships.
Switerland-based MSC Cruises has already announced that it will make stops next year at Sir Bani Yes, bringing in an estimated 50,000 passengers, Mr Al Shamisi said.
“This will transform the cruise business in the region,” he reckons.
“Abu Dhabi Ports is also working in cooperation with the Tourism Development and Investment Authority (TDIC) to develop the Sir Bani Yas Island’s beach front to be ready in the third quarter of 2016,” the company said in a statement. “The aim is to position the Arabian Gulf’s first cruise beach stopover as an important eco-tourism destination.”
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