ABU DHABI - Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi organises Al Dhafra Water Festival in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club.
The Festival will run from the 20th to the 29th of April, 2017 in the city of Mirfa in Al Dhafra Region.
Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of Al Dhafra Water Festival said that “extensive preparations are taking place ahead of the 9th edition.”
Al Mazrouei noted that the Festival’s name was changed from Al Gharbia Watersports Festival to Al Dhafra Water Festival, in accordance with a new decree that was recently issued by the President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
The decree amends the names of the Eastern and Western Regions in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Accordingly, the Eastern Region in the emirate is renamed Al Ain Region, while the Western Region is renamed Al Dhafra Region.
“The directives of the wise leadership have contributed to a comprehensive renaissance in Al Dhafra Region. A strategic geographical position and a rich historical heritage have allowed the region to produce an exceptional blend of originality and modernity. Al Dhafra is widely recognised as a rich heritage site that boasts exclusive historical treasures and thrilling natural landscapes. Today the civilisational legacy of Al Dhafra is characterised by a major economic development,” Al Mazrouei said.
The Higher Organising Committee of Al Dhafra Water Festival, in its 9th edition, is betting on an innovative preparation and a creative organisation as it aspires to highlight the Emirati heritage and a genuine aspect of the local culture. The visitors are invited to discover the exploits, customs and traditions of locals while exploring the Emirati environment, and its different aspects and details.
At the festival’s site which spans over 20,000 square metres, a number of diverse activities will be held with the participation of 4,000 athletes from 20 countries. Among the most notable activities are: the Local Rowing Race, the Race for Tfares, Al Bawanish Sailing Race, the Stand Up Paddle Surfing, the Jenana Sailing Race, the Regatta Race (UAE Sailing National Championship), the Kite Surfing Competition. Other sports include swimming, beach volleyball, beach football, as well as a number of exceptional heritage activities that are closely related to the marine environment.
This year’s edition of Al Dhafra Water Festival coincides with the organisation of the long-distance First Dalma Race for the category of 60 feet. Organised by the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, the First Dalma Race will be awarding prizes with a total value of AED 25 million.
Al Mazrouei hailed the substantive role of the wise leadership in supporting heritage and marine sports. He also saluted the great interest that had been accorded to Al Dhafra Region, through the development of various sectors, notably economy, tourism, education and healthcare.
He stressed that “Al Dhafra Region has become an investment magnet for a number of vital projects.”
Al Mazrouei extended his thanks to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, for his patronage of the Festival and his unlimited support for the various events that are held in Al Dhafra Region.
In addition to sporting events, the Festival offers a rich variety of other activities including the Traditional Market which offers the visitors an opportunity to discover the history, traditions and customs of locals.
The children's Village, which constitutes an essential part of the activities of the Festival, features games, marine sports, entertainment as well as cultural and heritage activities. Competitions and workshops are also organised to develop the daily skills of children and boost their memory. In this regard, the Organising Committee aspires to introduce the younger generation to the various Emirati customs and traditions, with the aim of supporting heritage through the organisation of exciting performances and the awarding of promotional prizes.
The activities of the 9th edition are expected to shed light on the significance of Al Dhafra as a tourist attraction, through highlighting the key aspects of this region that has grown into an attractive environment for visitors and tourists from all over the world. Al Dhafra Water Festival attracts around 60,000 visitors annually. Thousands of nationals, residents and tourists flock to Al Dhafra in April to take pleasure in the exciting activities, heritage competitions and marine performances.
The Festival seeks to support and promote the region which has been witnessing a remarkable economic resurgence and a notable commercial recovery. The organisation of the Festival along with the running of other cultural events and heritage activities has effectively contributed to the economic prosperity of Al Dhafra Region.
The Festival also seeks to promote the stunning aspects of a promising and diverse environment, which allows for the development of sports in general and marine sports in particular.
Over its previous editions, Al Dhafra Water Festival has been able to provide an opportunity for locals to explore new cultures, customs and traditions by way of interaction with other nationalities.
Al Dhafra Region
Al Dhafra Region is a diverse tourist destination that caters for all tastes among the lovers of excitement and leisure. A home to Sir Bani Yas Island resorts, Qasr Al Sarab desert resort, and the Liwa desert, Al Dhafra covers an area of 40,000 square kilometres, which is about 60 percent of Abu Dhabi emirate’s land mass, and comprises seven townships that are providing the population with the required services and opportunities.
Al Dhafra is also home to a number of other towns, villages and scattered islands. Some of the cities and towns are situated in the heart of the desert, namely Mahadher Liwa, Madinat Zayed, Baynounah and Ghayathi. Other towns overlook the Arabian Gulf, namely Mirfa, Al Ruwais and Al Sila'a.
Among the renowned islands in Al Dhafra are: Dalma, which is a densely-populated island; the Abu al Abyad which is the largest of about 200 islands along the coast of the UAE; and the Sir Bani Yas Island, which was established as a natural reserve by the late president and founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.