ABU DHABI, A new initiative launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi aims to provide a significant boost to the most established, longest-running local eateries and shops in the emirate by raising their profiles as 'places of cultural significance', and by encouraging more people to try them out.

The initiative, called Urban Treasures, sees the long-running and most popular cafeterias, restaurants and shops awarded special status by DCT Abu Dhabi, increasing awareness of the outlet to pique interest and increase footfall from both residents and visitors to the emirate.

The award also highlights the establishment's special status as a significant and popular part of the urban and social fabric of its neighbourhood.

The Urban Treasures initiative was launched in parallel with the complementary Weekends at Al Hosn events, which are running from January until April 2020 and which feature a raft of nostalgic social, cultural and artistic activities.

Up to 20 establishments, which must have been active before the year 2000, will be recognised every year by DCT Abu Dhabi. A campaign for nominations by the public will run from January 24 to February 24 via the website Abu Dhabi Events and social media channels using the hashtag #urbantreasures and a booth at Weekends at Al Hosn. DCT Abu Dhabi will review and evaluate all nominations against criteria.

Following the evaluation, 'winning' establishments will be named as Urban Treasures with the winners announced at a ceremony at the end of the Weekends at Al Hosn season. The celebrated establishments will be featured on the Visit Abu Dhabi and Visit Al Ain websites and promoted as places for both tourists and residents to seek out.

"As part of our commitment to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the emirate, we focus on places and projects that have contributed to the cultural and urban identity of Abu Dhabi, and played a significant role in capturing the essence of the different communities residing here," said Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi.

"This initiative has been launched to help the most long-established eateries and shops in Abu Dhabi thrive, whilst at the same time recognising their significance as cultural touchpoints that resonate with the public as intrinsic parts of how they remember the emirate.

The selected establishments will be showcased and each will have their profile's increased, which will hopefully increase footfall. They will also take their place as part of the interwoven history of Emirati society, preserved for future generations so that they can understand and appreciate fully the history of their homeland."

The Weekends at Al Hosn events, which are also organised by DCT Abu Dhabi, run on seven alternate weekends between January and April 2020, beginning on 24th 25th January.

The event features traditional performances and demonstrations, a souq focused on retail and F and B of the 1980s and 1990s, screenings of documentary films, camel riding, live Emirati cooking stations and roaming vendors.

Source: Emirates News Agency