Al Ain to get tourism boost from UNESCO vote

Cultural, geological, archaeological and historic importance cited

Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain.
Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain.

Abu Dhabi tourism chiefs said on Sunday that Al Ain's inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List was likely to boost the number of visitors to the city.

Abu Dhabi's second city and heritage heartland last week become the first site in the UAE to make it on to UNESCO's global list.

In comments published by state news agency WAM, Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), said: "This long-sought accreditation will do much to lift the tourism potential of Al Ain and ADTA will move to leverage the listing as wide as possible.

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"We also look to our expanding stakeholder base to leverage its own entrepreneurial instincts and skills to ensure that the anticipated increasing visitor demand for Al Ain is met in the most professional and respectful way possible."

UNESCO cited Al Ain's cultural sites and the geological, archaeological and historic importance of sites throughout the city.

These include Jebel Hafeet, the 1,249 metre high peak - the highest in the emirate - which backdrops the city and which boasts 500 ancient burial tombs dating back 5,000 years; the bronze and iron age sites of Al Hili; and the tombs of the Bida Bin Saud area.

The registration to the list came during the 35th session of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage Committee, which was held in Paris last week.

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