Abu Dhabi, an obscure ‘yet substantial’ oil producer in the Middle East is seeking to take the world by storm in it’s largest up scale venture.
The precedent has already been set by it’s neighbouring city, Dubai, which became a global commercial and tourist hub when it’s oil supply began running low creating a necessity for wealth replacement. Part of Dubai’s step to recovery included the $1 billion Burj Al Arab hotel, looser land sales laws, and what will become the world’s tallest building among other things. Although many believe that Dubai was built too quickly and urgently, it continues to be a stronghold in the Middle East and is giving Abu Dhabi a good run for its money.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the 46-year-old crown prince of Abu Dhabi, has high hopes of putting his little city on the world map. Considered the richest city in the world, each of Abu Dhabi’s 420,000 citizens are worth $17 million. Over $1 trillion is invested worldwide by this one city alone, and an unfathomable amount of money is being put right back into its soil.
Etihad Airways, one of Abu Dhabi’s first projects along with its $6.8 billion airport expansion, included an $8 billion order with Airbus. Although it covers all major destinations in the globe, the successful airline industry of Dubai makes Abu Dhabi’s seem pointless and so far apparently unprofitable. The immaculate Emirates Palace hotel was soon to follow with suites costing between $1,000 and $10,000-per-night. The practicality of the hotel is debatable as it seems to serve as a landmark rather than a place of lodging. However, with popularity being the primary goal for this city, it serves it’s purpose well.
The most crucial change in Abu Dhabi has been the relaxing of it’s property ownership and selling laws to allow foreigners 99-year leaseholds and giving citizens the ability to sell land. Native investors that have settled in Dubai are now returning to their home city in a bid not to miss this ‘gold rush’.
Abu Dhabi’s most recent endeavour is Saadiyat Island (meaning island of happiness in Arabic), a glowing $30 billion island with two golf courses, 29 hotels and enough housing accommodation for 150,000 people. Numerous other features on the island make it the ideal tourist destination.
Will the world notice Abu Dhabi’s gigantic strides in creating an empire of wealth? Only time will tell, and perhaps one day Abu Dhabi will be to the Arabia what Tokyo is to Japan. Read more on CNNMoney.