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ADTA to raise emirate’s golfing profile

Improvements at the National Course will put the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on the sporting map

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which hosts the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, says it plans to carry out a number of improvements to the tees and facilities at the National Course in time for the 2007 event.

The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship 2007 is fully sanctioned by The European Tour and the UAE Golf Association and has a prize fund of US $2 million. The title will be contested from January 18-21 next year and the Championship committee has promised that an enhanced course layout and improved facilities at the golf course will await the competition’s star-studded line-up.

Following the success of this year’s tournament, the ADTA is confident that the improvements will put the city firmly on the global golfing map.

“The inaugural Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in 2006 brought significant benefits to the emirate,” said His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.

“[We are] now actively engaged in talks with a number of leading sports tour operators worldwide to help bring more golfing tourists to the UAE capital,” he added.

“We are now drafting a long-term golf tourism strategy for the emirate which will see us move significantly forward with plans for a number of new world-class courses, particularly on our flagship Saadiyat Island international development for which two courses are being designed.”

The ADTA believes golf tourism is vital if the emirate is to achieve its aim of attracting three million visitors annually to the UAE capital by 2015, a three fold increase from its current yearly average.

“Golf means business,” said HH Al Nahyan. “It brings tourism revenue to hotels, restaurants, car rental firms, taxis and airlines and this tournament is ensuring that awareness of Abu Dhabi is spreading throughout tourism the industry.”

Indeed, the crème de la crème of the golfing world are already keen to show of their skills on the improved National Course. Last year’s champion, Chris DiMarco, was among the first to confirm that he will take part in the 2007 competition and is looking forward to returning to the UAE capital to defend his title.

“Earlier this year [in] Abu Dhabi I made golfing history. While it’s commonly held that history never repeats itself, I shall be looking to turn that particular saying on its head next January,” he said. “I view the Abu Dhabi tournament as an important personal goal for 2007.”

DiMarco, who ranks among the top ten golfers in the US, is just one of a number of the world’s leading players who have confirmed they will contend the title. European Ryder Cup team member, Sergio Garcia of Spain, who came third in this year’s event, and South Africa’s Retief Goosen will also be taking part.

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