Dubai’s picturesque Hatta region, nestled in the Hajar Mountains, is undergoing a remarkable transformation.
Driven by a visionary development plan, the region has become an exemplary model of sustainable growth and cultural preservation, making it a destination whose popularity is steadily growing not only nationally but also globally.
Named as one of the ’50 most beautiful small towns in the world‘ by Condé Nast Traveler in May this year, Hatta is a testament to Dubai’s visionary leadership and commitment to balanced growth. The city, located 130 kilometers southeast of Dubai City, has not only become a must-visit destination but has also set an example of how modern development can harmoniously coexist with cultural conservation and environmental sustainability. .
Visionary development plan
He Hatta Master Development Plana visionary plan for growth and transformation launched in 2021 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai has played a crucial role in the region’s rising profile. Integrating the improvement of residents’ well-being with the creation of unique experiences for visitors, the plan, which is part of the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040has catalyzed the rise of Hatta as a vital tourist and cultural centre.
His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Commissioner General of Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Welfare of Dubai, said that the development of Hatta, guided by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’The region’s visionary strategy represents a harmonious balance between sustainability and economic growth and an emphasis on maintaining the region’s unique cultural identity.
“This strategic approach focuses on embracing the natural environment and preserving Hatta’s cultural heritage as fundamental and invaluable assets. The development of the area encompasses economic, cultural, ecological and social dimensions, affirming Dubai’s commitment to building a sustainable future in collaboration with the people of the area, deeply rooted in heritage and environmental awareness.”
As part of the first phase of the plan, the Supreme Committee to Supervise the Development of Hatta launched the ‘Hatta, The Dubai Highlands’ campaign to promote the region’s unique attractions, activities and experiences. This campaign highlighted the natural beauty, pleasant climate and rich history of the region, dating back more than 3,000 years.
Hatta’s destination ambitions received a strong boost with the development of the new Hatta Souq and the redevelopment of Hatta Heritage Village. Combining traditional and contemporary architectural designs, the Souq has today become a vibrant market showcasing local products and crafts. Hatta Heritage Village was transformed into a cultural landmark, highlighting the rich history and traditions of the region. Today, Hatta has become a lively tourist hub offering some of the Middle East’s most distinctive experiences, ranging from nature to heritage. Hatta Dam, Hatta Hill Park, Hatta Honeybee Garden and the Discovery Center are just a few of the other attractions that offer enriching local experiences for wanderlust travelers.
The first phase of the plan also saw the creation of the infrastructure necessary for a vibrant destination. The initial plan period saw a complete overhaul of Hatta’s transportation system. The introduction of public and shared mobility solutions marked a significant step towards improving connectivity and accessibility. This phase also included the construction of an extensive network of cycle paths that link various means of transportation and tourist attractions, facilitating ecological trips and adventure sports.
Visitors and residents of Hatta have the exciting opportunity to explore its stunning landscapes by renting various individual mobility options, including bicycles, electric scooters and mountain bikes. These vehicles can be used on cycle tracks spanning 11.5 kilometres, offering an enjoyable and environmentally friendly way to get around Hatta. The area also offers 50 kilometers of mountain bike trails covering a network of various terrain and distances. To ensure convenient access for cyclists, the tracks have been linked to prominent tourist sites.
Destination for all seasons
The launch of the second phase of Hatta’s development in early 2023 is enabling the region to further advance its growth as a major destination. The 22 projects and initiatives in the second phase include the transformation of Hatta Beach into a year-round tourist location that serves both residents and visitors. The Hatta Beach boardwalk will be developed to include a variety of amenities, services and recreational activities for visitors. With Crystal Lagoon, the Hatta Beach Project is designed to offer year-round leisure and entertainment facilities, increasing visitor numbers to the region.
Another important project is the Hatta Sustainable Waterfalls which will be built in the vicinity of the Hatta dam. Seamlessly combining sustainability, heritage and economic development, the project is uniquely designed to take advantage of the natural slope of the upper dam of the Hatta Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant to create a beautiful natural waterfall. A canal is being built beneath the dam to ensure efficient use and recycling of water. The cascading water is collected at the end of the stream, then recycled and pumped back to the top of the dam, facilitating sustainable resource utilization.
A striking aspect of this project is its hexagonal beehive design inspired by Hatta honey production traditions, adding a distinctive cultural and aesthetic touch to the project. The beehive-inspired architecture is not only a nod to local heritage, but also an innovative approach to integrating cultural elements into modern infrastructure. The Hatta Sustainable Waterfalls project marks an important milestone in Hatta’s journey towards becoming a unique and popular destination for visitors. The site will also see the installation of a 5.4km cable car that will take visitors from the dam to the top of Umm Al Nusour, Dubai’s highest peak.
A center for sport and culture.
Driven by the development of its infrastructure, the city has become a meeting point for events ranging from sport to culture. The inclusion of Hatta in the Dubai Fitness Challenge and its selection as the host of the Spartan Race underline its growing reputation as a center for sports and wellness. As part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge 2023 (DFC), Hatta hosted Dubai’s first Stand-Up Paddle last month with around 1,000 participants enjoying stand-up paddleboarding sessions in a picturesque mountain setting. Additionally, the DFC SUP Challenger session brought an exciting challenge for participants, while the Sunset SUP Yoga class offered a peaceful experience amidst a tranquil mountain landscape.
Last month, Hatta also hosted the third Spartan Race, recognized as one of the toughest endurance races in the world, which attracted the participation of more than 3,500 athletes of various nationalities and age groups, including 900 participants from outside the country. Attracting participants from around the world, these events highlight Hatta’s potential to host international sporting events and promote an active lifestyle. The race, held against the backdrop of the Hatta mountains and valleys, attracted more than 5,000 spectators.
With the Hatta Master Development Plan With a strong emphasis on cultural enrichment and community participation, Hatta has also become a center for a variety of cultural events. During the year, Hatta hosted unique events such as ‘Hatta Cultural Nights’ and initiatives such as COREUNITY designed to foster a sense of community. He Hatta Cultural Nights celebrated the heritage, folklore, music and poetry of the Emirates, showcasing the culture of the mountainous region, while the COREUNITY Festival provided three days of music, movement and wellness. Hatta Heritage Village, the new Hatta Souq and the newly developed Leem Lake have become focal points of this cultural renaissance, bringing the area’s history and traditions to life.
Hatta offerings are a key part of the latest #DubaiDestinations Winter campaign, which encourages residents and visitors to discover the emirate’s various attractions and activities that make the city a distinctive destination in the coldest months of the year.
Emphasis on sustainability
He Hatta Master Development Plan places a strong emphasis on sustainable development. The Hatta Hydropower Station, the first project of its kind in the GCC, which is nearing completion, stands out for its engineering complexity and substantial environmental benefits. It uses hydroelectricity, a reliable and sustainable energy source, which surpasses the consistency of wind and solar energy. The project operates in two modes: turbine and pumping. Exceptionally, during pumping mode, it harnesses the energy of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, creating a clean energy production circuit. This integration is critical to Dubai’s goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, significantly reducing dependence on fossil fuels and raising Hatta’s profile as an eco-conscious destination.
A critical aspect of the plan is the support provided to local farmers. The Supreme Committee has implemented a comprehensive program that provides farmers with guidance, resources and marketing platforms. This initiative has not only promoted local agriculture but has also enriched the region’s green cover, with the planting of some 13,000 native trees.
As Hatta continues to evolve, it is setting a global benchmark for how smaller destinations can promote development and expand their offerings while preserving their cultural character and embracing the future. Hatta is a testament to Dubai’s commitment to sustainable development, heritage preservation and community engagement, making it not only a distinctive destination but also a model for holistic growth.
News source: Dubai Press Office