Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has been ranked among the top ten best cities to visit by Lonely Planet.

The report titled ‘The Best Ten Cities to Visit in 2010' was based on scientific and field studies that took into consideration a range of factors. The achievement is especially noteworthy given that Istanbul (Turkey) Kyoto (Japan) Lecce (Italy) Vancouver (Canada) and Singapore were among the others that made it to the list.

Although the report attributes the selection of some cities to the global financial crisis, the fact is that this does not apply to Abu Dhabi, which was not as badly impacted as other well-known urban centres the world over.

The change witnessed by the emirate in the past ten years has been measured with careful, studied development to meet requirements. This has ensured the global financial meltdown did not hit it too badly.

The Abu Dhabi government has embarked on an integrated strategic plan to develop the emirate's vital facilities and infrastructure to upgrade living conditions of citizens and residents and to provide them with the best services.

It also implemented several big-budget recreational and tourism projects.

At the domestic level, the strategic plan was to turn Abu Dhabi into an emirate that offered the best services for the lowest prices. Accordingly, implementation of the e-government project was stepped up to cope with the high-tech age. Next were steps to implement infrastructure projects like highways, bridges and tunnels on and around Abu Dhabi Island and other transportation projects, for which over Dh50 billion were allocated in 2006.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi enhanced its presence on the global tourism map in the past few years and managed to turn itself into an international hub for businesses, entertainment and luxury tourism.

There are also many ambitious future plans announced by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority with about Dh100 billion made available for a chain of hotels and recreational facilities in Abu Dhabi and surrounding islands such as Yas, Saadiyat and Al Reem Island.

Several other projects on the man-made islands opposite Abu Dhabi Corniche also hold immense promise.

The emergence of the emirate as one of the 10 most desirable destinations around the world is also a tribute to the vision of its leadership under President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.