Attracting more visitors from a wider group of cities in India, Saudi Arabia, Europe and Africa
The introduction of two new budget airlines will be "a game changer" for tourism facilities on Yas Island, the chief executive of master developer Miral said.
Announcements by Etihad and Air Arabia for the formation of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi in October and by Europe's Wizz Air to set up an Abu Dhabi airline in December will encourage tourists from a broader range of cities to visit the emirate and the theme parks and other tourism attractions at Yas Island, Mohamed Al Zaabi said.
"I think Air Arabia with their experience to access second- and third-tier cities in source markets like India, KSA, Russia and having Wizz Air with access to second-tier cities in Europe, that will just improve our position as an attractive destination on Yas Island particularly and generally Abu Dhabi," he said.
Abu Dhabi Development Holding's investment of €100 million in Germany's FTI Group — Europe's third-biggest travel agency — in December will also "help us to have more tourists coming to Yas and Abu Dhabi", Mr Al Zaabi said.
He also said it is looking to attract more customers from Africa.
Speaking at a media event at the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park operated by Miral, he said the company had achieved a number of milestones last year, including the completion of infrastructure along the waterfront at the Dh12 billion Yas Bay development at the southern end of the island.
He said the company signed deals with four investors to take residential plots at Yas Island, but did not disclose where the plots were. Three more deals are "in a very advanced stage with potential investors" and discussions are taking place with both local and international investors, he said.
This year will see the opening of a new 550-room Hilton hotel at Yas Bay, with the property currently 85 per cent complete. The 18,000-seat Etihad Arena, which is 88 per cent complete, will also open this year.
The world's first Warner Bros hotel is almost 40 per cent complete and is set to open next year, while SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is "at a very advanced stage of design and we are on track to finish the construction by 2022".
Overall, Yas Island is now about 55 per cent complete. Mr Al Zaabi declined to comment on whether more theme parks would be developed, but said more development could be expected on the island overall.