The Tourism Development and Investment Company, TDIC, hosted yesterday members from the Emirati-Italian Friendship Association at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, led by Francesco Rutelli, Italian Minister of Culture and former Mayor of Rome.
The Italian delegation was received by Khalifa bin Salem Al Mansouri, Acting Under-Secretary of Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development and Sufian H. Al Marzooqi, Chief Executive Officer at the TDIC.
During the meeting, they discussed ways to build the strategic relation between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Italy across a variety of sectors, including business, tourism and culture.
The meeting was followed by a presentation by the TDIC management on its delivered projects across the Emirate and its upcoming projects especially the current projects in the masterplan of Saadiyat.
The delegation was also briefed on the latest developments on Louvre Abu Dhabi, in addition to its recently launched projects Mamsha Al Saadiyat and Saadiyat Lagoons District.
Al Mansouri acknowledged TDIC's strategic role in supporting the Government of Abu Dhabi's 2030 Economic Vision through its rich portfolio, which includes internationally sought-after developments in the tourism, retail, real estate and cultural sectors.
He further highlighted the importance of strengthening the UAE's strategic relationship with Italy, which is the country's second-largest European trade partner. In 2015, the total value of trade conducted between the two countries amounted to $7 billion. Meanwhile in 2014, 118 Italian commercial companies were registered at the Department of Economic Development, along with 478 franchises and 7,452 brands.
Al Mansouri also noted that the UAE government is keen to enhance the country's economy through the enhancement of various knowledge-based initiatives, such as research and development. To support that drive, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is committed to encouraging investments in both the tourism and small and medium business sectors through establishing strong ties between companies based in Italy and Abu Dhabi.
Sufian H. Al Marzooqi, CEO of TDIC, said: "We are pleased to welcome the Italian delegation at our headquarters to introduce them to our rich portfolio particularly on Saadiyat. The meeting was a great opportunity to talk about the economy and the investment opportunities we can offer to potential partners as we are working on many sectors like tourism, cultural, commercial and many others."
Francesco Rutelli stated that the UAE's robust economy makes it an important partner for the Italian government, which is undertaking various efforts to reinforce its ties to strategic partners in the region.
He also highlighted that the Abu Dhabi government's focus on enhancing its tourism sector through the development of world-class projects, including the cultural institutions on Saadiyat island, will also strengthen the two countries' ties.
The Italian minister also called on Emirati companies to invest in the Italian market and take advantage of the invest opportunities, especially in the tourism and technological sectors. He noted that Italy plays the role of a gateway for Emirati companies to enter Europe as much as the UAE is the gateway for Italy into the Middle East.
He similarly expressed his admiration for the unique developments currently being undertaken in the emirate, which will strengthen the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's drive to become a global hub for tourism and culture. These include the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and, which will be housed in the Saadiyat Cultural District.