Abu Dhabi's tourism and environmental sectors have co-operated to enhance management of the emirate's resort waters, to safeguard guest health.
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), with the support of Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), has published a guideline – Management of Beach Water Quality for Human Health at Abu Dhabi Hotels – which outlines procedures now mandatory for the emirate's 24 beachfront resorts.
"Abu Dhabi is blessed with many beautiful beaches. As with other beaches around the world, there is the possibility that they may be affected by pollution, and so we must be prepared to deal with this situation, however uncommon it is. This guideline sits within the tourism sector's Environment, Health and Safety Management System framework and is focussed on protecting guest health," said Nasser Al Reyami, TCA Abu Dhabi's Director Standards, Regulations & Licensing. "It will provide a higher standard for public health than the privately-run 'Blue Flag' programme which some hotels have voluntarily adopted," he added.
Monitoring of the quality of Abu Dhabi's recreational beaches to protect ecosystems and public health is an EAD priority and the new guidelines will assist in making better informed decisions.
"In 2013, we worked alongside our partners to reduce and mitigate pressure on Abu Dhabi's marine waters by implementing the Marine Water Quality Protection Plan. This year, by unifying the monitoring procedures and sampling methods across the emirate through these newly published guidelines, we all now have more reliable and consistent data about our beaches to base decisions on," said Eng. Shaikha Ahmed Al Hosani, Director of Environmental Monitoring & Analysis at EAD.
The 28-page guideline clearly lays out the management approach to pollution incidents, identifies specific roles and responsibilities and details a nine-step procedure for developing a beach water quality monitoring programme.
TCA Abu Dhabi is now planning to roll out the guideline training to the emirate's 24 beach properties, 13 of which are on Abu Dhabi island.