The Desert Islands destination, designed as a showpiece in sustainability, will comprise Sir Bani Yas Island, the heritage-rich Dalma Island and a range of rocky outcrops – the Discovery Islands. The opening of the 64-room boutique Desert Islands Resort and Spa, managed by the Thai hospitality group Anantara, has also signalled the arrival of Al Gharbia on the global tourism map.
Sir Bani Yas Island is one of eight natural islands which make up Desert Islands and is being developed by Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) – a master developer of major leisure, residential and tourism destination within Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
“The launch of Desert Islands’ first phase is a milestone, not only in TDIC’s history, but in that of Al Gharbia,” explained Lee Tabler, CEO, TDIC. “As the first TDIC proprietary product to come on line, the opening up of Sir Bani Yas Island has given us a great sense of satisfaction, particularly as it has been achieved in less than three years of the company’s launch. It is also a flagship development for Al Gharbia and a paradigm of how the great potential of this region can be leveraged in a solid, sustainable manner.”
Originally conceived as a wildlife reserve to ensure the survival of Arabia’s most
endangered species, Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the great legacies of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late President of the UAE. Today it hosts the Arabian Wildlife Park which spans three quarters of this 87 square kilometre island and is home to a variety of free roaming animals including one of the world’s largest herds, of more than 400, of Arabian oryx.
Desert Islands Resort and Spa guests can experience a variety of adventure and nature-based activities including 4×4 guided tours of the Arabian Wildlife Park, mountain biking and hiking on the island’s rugged salt domes, kayaking through its lush mangrove reserve, home to over 60 species of migratory bird life, and snorkelling in the marine-life rich waters off the island which are inhabited by dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles.
Sir Bani Yas Island lies alongside Jebel Dhanna in Al Gharbia, a 250 kilometre drive from Abu Dhabi city, followed by a 15 minute boat trip. Alternatively guests can opt for a 50 minute flight by sea plane linking Abu Dhabi International Airport with the island. The sea plane service is operated by Empire Aviation, a division of Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered national airline of the UAE.
“The Sir Bani Yas Island experience starts from the moment guests step on to the boat or sea plane and enter this remote and exclusive get-away,” added Tabler.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.