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Abu Dhabi: The new Middle East Hub

The Middle East is one of the fastest growing regions of the world and indeed one forecast indicates that the Middle East GDP growth will continue up to 2030 and is expected to grow five fold in this period as a result of the continuing high oil price and high level of investment in the construction and tourist sectors.There were over 2,100 projects either planned or underway in the Gulf region in 2005 and since then many more have been put in place. The growth of the hotel, property, construction and tourism markets is astounding, many of this being in Dubai, but this is now changing, with large developments now taking place in the capital, Abu Dhabi. In fact, Abu Dhabi is the most powerful of the 7 Emirates, occupying 86% of the UAE.To support all of these completed and planned developments, work is underway to create world-class transport systems to link Abu Dhabi into a closer network with other Emirates and the wider world.With more flights within the Middle East to Abu Dhabi than Dubai, Abu Dhabi is investing in new airports to manage both the local and international demand. This will involve an $8 billion plan for the international airport, involving the construction of a new terminal, adding to one still under construction, along with an air traffic control tower. The new facilities are expected to increase the airport’s passenger capacity by 20 million when it is completed in 2010. A major highway is also under construction to extend the Emirates road in Dubai to reach Abu Dhabi.Ensuring Abu Dhabi is seen to encourage ecological awareness, a new 6km² energy, science and technology community will open in late 2009. The development is a unique, integrated ’Green Community’ in the heart of Abu Dhabi, which uses the traditional planning principals of a walled city together with existing technologies to achieve a zero-carbon and zero-waste sustainable development. Rooted in zero-carbon ambition, the city will be car free, powered by renewable energy with services digitally managed, providing real time information.A cultural hub. Abu Dhabi is also vying to become a world-class cultural hub, the new home of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a performing arts centre, a maritime museum and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum.

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