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The island’s development project was initiated in 2006 by Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties (master developer), with the aim of turning the island into a multi-purpose leisure, shopping and entertainment center at an estimated total cost of over $40 billion. This investment was planned as a multi-staged project to unfold in phases until 2018, with project stakeholders foreseeing the possibility of extending development by adding new venues and upgrading existing facilities.
It occupies a total land area of 2,500 ha (25 km2), of which 1,700 ha will be claimed for development. Yas Island holds the Yas Marina Circuit, which has hosted the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009.
Both business and leisure travelers visit Yas Island. Yas Island was named the world's leading tourism project at the World Travel Awards in November 2009.
The Park’s foundation stone was laid on 3 November 2007. The development was completed in a little under three years, opening to the public for the first time on 27 October 2010.
Yas Waterworld Surf’s up! Bubbles' Barrel slide has the largest surf-able sheet wave surf in the world.
The full circuit length is 5.554 km and can be configured in five different ways to accommodate a variety of motorsport events. Yas Marina Circuit is the only motorsports venue in the world that offers covered and shaded grandstands throughout the facility, coupled with unique pit lane s that run partially beneath the track.
Two charter boat companies operate from Yas Marina namely Captain Tony's and Azure Marine. Seawings operates flights to and from Dubai to Yas Marina and 20 minute Abu Dhabi tours from Yas Marina. 
Yas Links is an award-winning golf course designed by Kyle Philips, ranked 24th World’s best Golf courses outside the USA (Golf Digest USA, 2012). 1.8 million cubic metres of material were dredged to form the 18 Hole Championship Golf Course, Golf Club & Golf Shop, pool Area, air-conditioned swing studio and meeting and conference rooms for corporate events.
Mangrove Tours launch daily from Yas Beach also courtesy of Noukhada Adventure Company. 
Yas express Saadiyat route shuttle service is the latest route (launched July 1) which interlinks St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi with Yas Island’s attractions. Operating daily with 3 pickups in the morning and 3 drop offs in the afternoon, the shuttle service transports guests to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld, Yas Island. The afternoon service offers three pickups from Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, dropping visitors back to each of the respective resorts on Saadiyat.
IKEA Yas Island is the flagship store and first retail outlet to open on Yas Island. The 33,000sqm store with a total sales area of 19,150sqm is the largest IKEA store in the MENA region and includes a play area for kids. Previously located within the Marina Mall complex, the store was moved to Yas Island primarily due to limited room for expansion.
The ACE Hardware Yas Island is the UAE’s second largest ACE Hardware store, with 5,200 square meters of retail space.