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Abu Dhabi's Population Set to Triple by 2030


The BI-ME eNewsletter
September 20, 2007


By 2030 Abu Dhabi's gross population is projected to surge to 3.1 million from the current baseline figure
of 930,000 in 2007, while annual tourist visits and residential units are set to
rise to 7.9 million and 686,000 from 1.8 million and 180,000 respectively.

The population of Abu Dhabi is expected to increase from 930,000 in 2007 to 1.3
million in 2013, 2.0 million in 2020 and to 3.1 million in 2030, according to
etimates made by the 'Plan Abu Dhabi 2030:Urban Structure Framework Plan' which
was announced in the capital on Wednesday.

The Urban Structure Framework Plan 'Plan Abu Dhabi 2030' presents a coherent
picture for the future of Abu Dhabi city as an environmentally, socially and
economically sustainable community and as an increasingly important national
capital. It provides for a way to grow and take advantage of the economic
opportunities at hand without sacrificing the best of the city while adding new
elements to make it a great world metropolis.

Abu Dhabi will see strong demand for residential units across all sectors of the
market as the population grows. Strong governmental and service sectors will
lead to a gradual increase in the proportion of white collar workers.

According to the document, the number of residential units will jump to 686,000
by 2030 from 180,000 in 2007, 251,000 in 2013 and 411,000 in 2020.
Increases in hotel rooms supply will be essential to accommoddate the
anticipated growth in both business and leisure guests to Abu Dhabi. The islands
will be the primary location for leisure hotel development, while new business
hotels will be needed close to the business centers and the airport.

Hotel rooms are projected to rise from 10,000 in 2007 to 21,000, 49,000 and
74,000 by 2013, 2020 and 2030 respectively.

Annual tourist visits are set to go up to 7.9 million by 2030 from 1.8 million,
3.3 million and 4.9 million in 2007,2013,2020 and 2030 respectively.

While Abu Dhabi's economy will remain strongly influenced by the energy sector,
growth in government, institution and service sector employment will lead to
increasing demand for office space as the market matures. In 2007, office space
is put at 1.4 million square metres and is suggested to soar to 2.5 million
square metres, 3.5 million square metres and 7.5 million square metres in 2013,
2020 and 2030 respectively.

Increasing population and tourism will lead to a growing demand for retail space
from 0.86 million square metres in 2007 to 1.5, 2.5 and 4.0 million square
metres in 2013, 2020 and 2030 respectively.

The industrial sector will grow with the expansion and relocation of the port
area, combined with the development of a significant industrial zone in close
proximity to the new port..

Industry space is estimated to expand at 4.0 million square metres in 2007, 6.5
million square metres in 2013, 10 million square metres in 2020 and 15 million
square metres in the target year of the plan in 2030.

A primary goal of the Abu Dhabi government's educattion policy is to create the
highest quality, comprehensive system of education that applies world-class
standards and expertise to the delivery of education at all levels. The
population in the Emirate will need 650 schools to educate their kids by 2030.
The total schools needed by the years 2013 and 2020 are estimated at 330 and 450
respectively. Today there are 236 schools.

As for hospital and healthcare sector, the government of Abu Dhabi is making
significant improvements to the Emirate's healthcare system, expanding capacity
and raising standards across the sector. This includes a number of new
healthcare institutions and the developmment of existing facilities. The plan
envisages the emergence of hospitals with total capacity of 4,500 beds in 2013,
6,500 beds in 2020 and 10,000 beds in 2030 from 2,800 beds in 2007.

Golf development is envisaged in a number of the resort development areas and
the creation of a number of courses will help drive golf-related tourism to Abu
Dhabi. Golf serves to increase the value and desirability of residential and
resort real estate, but the construction and operating costs of such facilities
are high in the UAE. Therefore, the level of supply is expected to remain
relatively modest. The number of golf courses is anticipated to hike from three
in 2007 to 1ten in 2013, 18 in 2020 and 25 in 2030.

Nothing has been more crucial to developing the Urban Structure Framework Plan
than a well-grounded picture of the projected economic and demographic trends
for the next quarter of a century. Enormous growth is envisioned over this
timeframe - between a tripling and quadrrupling of the current population - and
the forecast has to identify how this growth, and accompanying economic
expansion, will be manifested in built form.

The economic projections established by the government's spending priorities in
areas such as healthcare, education, tourism and industrial diversification are
the core source of the population growth and market projection scenarios
outlined in the following section.

As for other leisure facilities such as yacht marinas, the demand for marina
berths is likely to rise as developments on the islands around Abu Dhabi mature.
But boating remains an expensive pastime, the report concludes, and thus a
steady growth rate, in line with population growth, is expected.

 

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