Abu Dhabi has created a ‘Safe Zone’ concept in preparation for the return of tourism and events to the emirate.

The new initiative, which is being spearheaded by The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), follows its successful delivery of the recent UFC Fight Island™, an event that saw the creation of a world-class ‘safe zone’ for approximately 2,500 people over five weeks on Yas Island and hosting one of the most watched fight nights of all time.

UFC Fight Island™ occupied an 11km stretch of the island – the ‘safe zone’ – which was locked off and completely secluded from the rest of the emirate and housed UFC personnel from 35 nations, event staff and Yas Island employees for the entire five-week period.

In line with the principles of the DCT Abu Dhabi’s ‘Go Safe’ certification programme, the health and safety procedures undertaken by event staff were extensive and included COVID-19 testing every 72 hours and 14-day isolation periods. These strict measures helped to achieve a COVID-free sanctuary, with the added benefits of world-class hospitality, including luxury hotels and entertainment facilities, all within the “protected bubble”.

The ‘safe zone’ included Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Beach and the Flash Forum, a multi-purpose indoor venue where the fights were staged.

DCT Abu Dhabi now plans to evolve this concept for the return of tourism and other events in the coming months, including the scheduled annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of 2020, which will take place within the current ‘safe zone’ perimeter.

Also included in the ‘safe zone’ are the du Arena, the open-air venue famous for staging international music concerts, and the Etihad Arena, set to be the region’s largest multi-purpose indoor arena with a seating capacity of 18,000.

In central Abu Dhabi, Zayed Sports City also houses a football stadium, tennis arena and numerous hotels, with a cricket stadium nearby.

DCT Abu Dhabi has said these venues can be used to create similar event ‘safe zones’ in the future, enabling the destination to build on the event-hosting roadmap it has created through the hosting of UFC Fight Island™.