Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island: The UAE’s hottest new travel destination

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi_view from majlis dusk

By: Hyacinth Mascarenhas

Never to be eclipsed by its Emirati neighbor, Abu Dhabi is increasingly becoming a hot-spot destination for vacationers across the region and the globe.

One of its main tourist attractions, Yas Island, is quickly rising as the UAE’s prime entertainment and leisure spot and a leading tourist destination in the Middle East. Home to a variety of attractions, including Yas Beach, Yas Marina, Yas Viceroy, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and Yas Links, almost any visitor of any age will certainly spoilt for choice.

“When you are on business, on vacation, or a quick getaway, it is rare that you visit just one attraction,” said Karim El Guanaini, Vice President of Yas Island Destination Management, adding that Yas Island has the combination of attractions and connectivity allowing a visitor to savor an “overall experience.”

“Committed to cultivating a more connective approach, Yas Island continues to enrich its offerings by developing island-wide products and services,” said El Guanaini.

Racing to the top

Located 30 minutes from the UAE capital, Yas Island is home to the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit – host of the annual F1 Etihad Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Nov. 1-3). Whether you choose to watch or climb into the driving seat of an Aston Martin, a Chevrolet Camaro or a Formula Yas 3000 racing car, this world-class motor-racing facility is an amazing opportunity for race car enthusiasts to experience the amazing thrill and pace of Formula 1 racing first hand.

Also located on Yas Island is Ferrari World – the world’s largest indoor amusement park – home to more than 20 thrilling Ferrari attractions and what has been called the world’s fastest roller coaster. The Formula Rossa, which accelerates to an incredible 240 km/hr in less than five seconds, is definitely for the more adventurous and daring at heart.

According to the BBC, the ride utilizes an aircraft carrier-like hydraulic launch system to propel trains along its serpentine track. The bright red trains are also specifically designed to resemble the iconic Ferrari Formula 1 cars, “Rosso Scuderia.” For those who aren’t eager to stomach the ride, the 86,000 square meter park also features a traditional carousel, 3-D shows and a walk-through exhibition on Italian history.

With an aim to preserve and celebrate its traditional Italian heritage, the Ferraro theme park also pays homage to its roots in the Bell’Italia (Beautiful Italy) – an exhibit showcasing recreations of famous Italian cityscapes, structures and racing venues from the cobbled footpaths to the Monza Racetrack.

Experiencing the waters of Abu Dhabi

As one of multiple world-class parks in UAE, the newly opened Yas Waterworld certainly stands out with its award-winning traditional Emirati theme and a dizzying choice of water slides, raft rides and wave machines.

Its unique “Legend of the Lost Pearl” storyline follows the adventures of Dana, a young Emirati girl and her quest for the legendary lost pearl – a theme that is intricately woven into its various sections and rides.

“The legend highlights an important part of Emirati heritage,” said Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi Marketing Director Abby Cronje. “Pearl diving was inherent to early Emirati culture – the theme in the water park was designed to uphold and celebrate this time-honored tradition.”

Spanning an area of around 15 football pitches, the water theme park includes more than 43 attractions, 5 of which are one-of-a-kind. One of the park’s must-try rides include Dawwama, the world’s first and largest hydro magnetic-powered six-person Tornado waterslide that feature’s the world’s longest funnel run-in at 238 meters.

The park also features a regionally unique attraction, the Hairat Yas, that showcases traditional Emirati pearl diving and allows guests to guide live divers to the oyster of their choice and opened to reveal a hidden pearl that can then be made into a piece of jewelry as a unique and memorable souvenir of Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi.

For those seeking a more tranquil getaway, set on the southern shores of the island Abu Dhabi’s “best kept secret” – Yas Beach. This warm golden stretch of beach is a great spot for visitors to lounge and enjoy the stunning backdrop of calm turquoise waters and mangroves peppered with yachts from the nearby Yas Marina. Central to Abu Dhabi’s ambitions of becoming a strong rival to the yachting grounds of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, this marina continues to attract yachts from as far away as Australia.

Boosting Abu Dhabi’s tourism

The wide variety of events and entertainment features has attracted millions of visitors from all over the region and the world resulting in a jump in Abu Dhabi’s tourism numbers.

According to the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, there has been an increase in tourism revenue in part due to Yas Island features such as the Grand Prix, special concerts and Eid events. Last, the island has had approximately 3 million visitors – a 10 percent increase from the previous year – and has attracted numerous celebrities including Hollywood actor Jude Law, and Grammy award-winning artists Madonna, Jay-Z and Rihanna.

Yas Island’s exciting entertainment features, expansion plans and rising visitor numbers certainly paint a very promising picture for the destination as an up-and-coming spot rivaling that of its neighboring emirate.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *