Prepared by : Shoeab AbdelFattah
Through long years of arduous work, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) managed to depict the future live festivals that reflect the ancient UAE heritage. It still works on protecting local heritage and supporting tourist sector, and hence opening spacious horizons to attract the largest possible number of visitors.
It seeks to promote the position of the UAE as a sustainable world-class tourist destination in a way that conforms to protection of the national heritage, in line with the emirate’s traditions. Such festivals present a bright picture, for marketing tourist activities and crown the UAE course of progress over long year towards introducing the largest possible number of tourist services and in turn assuming a remarkable position on the world tourist map and in the Arab world and the Gulf region.
The festivals events vary between heritage, cultural, sports and entertainment activities. The following is a brief about the significant elements in the festival:
Qasr Al Hosn Festival
“Qasr Al Hosn Festival 2016”, held in February3 – 13, attracted 140.000 visitors, reaching a growth rate of 15 % as compared to the last edition. This year’s edition peculiarly introduced innovative events, including a tour in the Fort that traces its chronological development over more than 200 years.
More than 10.300 visitors participated in the interactive experience that lasted for 10 minutes and focused on the “Cultural Foundation” events about modern heritage.
It includes interactive activities for the revival of collective memory regarding the “Cultural Foundation” and its historical role as a center for the cultural movement in the Emirati capital.
Besides, some exhibits are held to relate the story of the UAE and its people.They include Iconic Images from The Past Exhibitionand the distinctive Archives & Memories: Capturing the Nation’s Storyand “Cultural Foundation Memory” exhibitions.
The open-air theatre (Amphitheatre) attached to the Cultural Foundation achieved a considerable success through holding Poetry Evenings, in which a collection of brilliant Emirati poets attracted manifest admiration of the audience. Such evenings signify the importance of poetry in the Emirati cultural memory.
The Amphitheatre also encompassed the “Memory of Emirati Song” program through the participation of more than 11 Emirati artists to revive the heritage of traditional Emirati folk songs. The performances, offered twice a day, attracted more than 3000 poetry and music enthusiasts.
The Cultural Foundation also involved “Gahwa” (Coffee) experience, where more than 4600 visitors enjoyed a variety of traditional Emirati cuisine, in either the internal hall or the outside terrace.
Moreover, a large group of interactive programs were conducted in the five Qasr Al Hosn,Marine, Desert, Abu Dhabi Island and Oasis zones of the festivals. Each zone included workshops pavilions, which allowed more than 9000 families the opportunity to enjoy activities and performances conducted by performers and experts in traditional folk arts and crafts.
The Amphitheatre also witnessed an attendance of around 15000 in its programs, including live performances inspired by Emirati cultural heritages, like Sky Show’s enthralling display of speed and agility by the birds of Al Ain Zoo, the Night Safari’s educational tale of adventure and a lively the Arabic social drama, Bab Al Khair.
Noteworthy, the area of the festival in its fourth edition has increased by 5%, reaching 47000 sq. m., having five entrances to its main square. In its most crowded days, the festival received around 200.000 visitors, the largest one day attendance.
Abu Dhabi Summer
“Abu Dhabi Summer Season”, running from September 7 to 11, 2016, represents a distinctive entertaining experience to the citizens and residents and attracts visitors from all over the world, who seek to spend the summer in each of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and the Western Regions.
It involves fun-filled extravaganza with thrilling family-centric activities and programs that suit all ages, and hosts a group of Arab artists, knowing that Abu Dhabi Summer is the family entertainment season par excellence. The last edition of the season witnessed successful entertainment events and artistic concerts.
Souq Al Qattara
The traditional crafts and industries festival held in the heritage Souq Al Qattara is interspersed with a series of heritage activities, performances and context. It aims at highlighting traditional crafts and industries in the Emirati heritage, and promoting the efforts of respective craftsmen to revive, preserve and transfer such crafts to the following generations as an essential component of the national identity. The contests accompanying the festival focus on the revival of a group of heritage crafts that played a functional role in ancient life. It also encourages innovation and preservation of originality.
The festival encompasses events like the Coffee Compaction for serving Arabian coffee in a traditional manner, and popular cuisine contests for participants over 15 years old, in serving 9 popular Emirati dishes.
It is a historical, documentary and educational event that aims at preservation of such crafts and industries and transfer of it to the coming generations. Therefore, tours around the Souqare organized for school students, as well as educational workshops.
Abu Dhabi Classic Music
Abu Dhabi Classics festival provides a series of classic music concerts and special performances for a group of leading world artists and orchestras, knowing that the new season lasts until May 2016.
It also hosts artists belonging to the finest eastern and western classical music bands, and its expanded program encompasses performances in UAE capital, Saadiyat Island, Liwa desert and historic sites in the emirate’s heritage heartland of Al Ain.
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) adopted the theme of “Music and Poetry” to explore the ways to maintain harmony between these two distinctive artistic modes, especially in light of the emirate’s age-old adoration for poetry.
World Halal Tourism Summit
The Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi, witnessed the opening of the first round of “World Halal Tourism Summit 2015” in Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
The summit discussions focused on the status of Abu Dhabi as a pioneering regional center that attracts delegations of Halal tourist sector, which is marked by its swift growth and high profitability. H.E. Jasem Al Darmaki, the Acting Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi, directed a message to the leading public and private sector participants at the beginning of the summit.
In addition, some of the summit key sessions, sponsored by ADNEC, represented one of many seminars held by leading tourist services providing institutions and destinations, which offer Sharia-compliantproducts within a three-day program. The program discusses issues related to promotion of tourist destinations, improvement of products and quality standards in the Halal tourism sector.
Under the auspices of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), American Photography Association, International Association of Photographers and the Arab Union of Photographers, TCA Abu Dhabi organized the 9th International Emirates Photography Competition 2015. It aims at development of photography in the UAE through motivating and attracting the largest possible number of photographers. This involves showing due care to talented photographers and supporting professional photographers through holding specialized workshops, exchange meetings and symposiums, and holding individual and group exhibitions in and out of the State.
The competition also involves working to acquire products and spread it by all possible means, choosing a “Main Theme” that urges photographers to quest for innovation in various aspects that enrich the photography experience, and highlight the possibility of variation in perspectives, topics, methods and themes. Alongside the current common themes that change each year, the present year’s Main Theme is the Family Album.
Al Ain Air Championship
TCA Abu Dhabi organized the 11thedition of Al Ain Air Championship (previously known as Al Ain Aerobatic Show) at Al Ain International Airport, in December 17 to 19, 2015.
Featuring an expanded programme of on-the-ground entertainment, this aerobatic extravaganza enthralled flying enthusiasts and families in the region as it includeda mix of elite military teams and civilian daredevils who squared off against each other in a three-day series of head-to-head competition heats.
The Championship Village offered a wide range of aircraft displays, interactive stands, runway demos and parades.
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
Organized by TCA Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi International Book Fair witnessed considerable increase in the numbers of visitors, who exceeded 262 thousands, and generated sales of AED 35 million, in its last edition.
The fair celebrated its Silver Jubilee through intense school and university trips, adding up to 1415 in number, with 56.600 students of different academic levels. tt also maintained a high level of organization and coordination to meet all types of needs, including logistic support and services and in the meantime providing comfort to visitors through increasing the number of information centers. Such centers offered guiding information to visitors regarding publishing houses locations, required titles, or accompanying programs.
TCA Abu Dhabi prepares to launch the 26th edition of the fair, set to run from April27 to May 3, 2016.