July 30, 2019 / 10:40 AM / 19 days ago

Abu Dhabi creates $163 million fund for 'mega-events'

Tourists take photos at the entrance of the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, December 23, 2018. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed/Files

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi launched a new 600 million dirhams ($163.4 million) “mega events” fund to finance potential global entertainment partners as part of its strategy to boost tourism and diversify the economy away from oil.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is already spending billions of dollars on industry, tourism and infrastructure to move away from oil dependence, but remains far behind nearby Dubai in attracting visitors.

“This initiative will work to attract the best entertainment and business event organisers from across the world to consider Abu Dhabi as a place to invest their time and efforts,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, under-secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism, in a statement on Tuesday.

The fund is part of a wide-ranging 50 billion dirham investment and reform initiative known as Ghadan 21.

Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic.

Abu Dhabi’s existing attractions include Formula One, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and a Warner Bros. theme park. Two new museums – the Guggenheim and Zayed National Museum - are being built.

Reporting By Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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