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Strong inflow of visitors, especially from India, driven by Yas Island’s successful campaign featuring Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh has led to robust growth in Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector this year, a top Emirati entrepreneur said.
“We saw a good number of tourists coming from different countries. India’s recovery is much, much faster. I think we are growing compared to 2019. I am amazed with the growth from the Indian market in the last few months. I expect higher numbers in the coming months,” said Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral, as he revealed the company's new brand identity aimed at taking the tourism sector to new heights.
Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences, ran the tourism campaign ‘Yas Hai Khaas’ (Yas is Special) with Ranveer Singh, who earlier this year was named the brand ambassador of Yas Island, and other initiatives like ‘Yas, Yas Baby’, and promotions by American actor Kevin Hart, who is named Yas’s chief island officer.
“With our campaign, we have tried to diversify as much as we can. India was always on top of our list, the GCC, Europe and Russia are our top markets. In Europe, mainly the UK and Germany are at the top of the list.”
Talking about the big flow of visitors from India and Singh being a successful brand ambassador, he said: “Ranveer Singh is amazing. We have a very close relationship. The impact of that campaign was amazing and it reflected in how fast we recovered in the number of tourists coming from India. We are growing in that sector. I think the impact will continue for years to come.”
Al Zaabi pointed out that Singh shares “same value” as that of Yas Island.
“Yas Island is full of energy and happiness. Ranveer shares the same value. He is the right person to present Yas Island in the Indian market, which is a very important market for us. We see people coming to enjoy their time either for a week or even longer. We look forward to further collaboration with him.”
Giving an example of tourist inflow into the island, Al Zaabi revealed that WB Abu Dhabi Hotel, which opened just a year ago, recorded 90 per cent occupancy during summer school holidays season of July and August.
“I am astonished with the performance of this hotel (WB Hotel). It reflects how strong and robust is the tourism sector on Yas Island and Abu Dhabi.”
Overall, a strong demand has led to robust recovery of 90 per cent from international and 120 per cent from local markets when compared to 2019.
“The trend is very positive. We are very optimistic about the coming quarter.”
Al Zaabi unveiled Miral’s new visual identity at an internal event, which included a unique metaverse activation mimicking the new campaign. Miral announced its three subsidiary names falling under the unified brand: Miral Destinations (previously Experience Hub), Miral Experiences (previously Farah Experiences) and Yas Asset Management.
“We believe that Abu Dhabi has the right foundation for the tourism sector. We are in the right direction to elevate it to the next level. We thought it’s the right time to put all our efforts under one umbrella, be more proactive and play a bigger role in the tourism sector. Therefore, we decided to rebrand the group.”
Miral’s new logo is inspired by the theme of connecting and enriching. The three lines of its logo represent Miral’s three pillars: people, community and environment.
“It’s very interesting time for Miral and Abu Dhabi.”
Established in 2011, Miral has been responsible for the development and management of Yas Island, which is home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, CLYMB Abu Dhabi, Etihad Arena, Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Mall, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Marina and 10 hotels, including the WB Abu Dhabi Hotel and Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island located on Yas Bay, Abu Dhabi’s premier waterfront destination. The construction of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, Miral’s flagship development, is expected to be made open to the public next year. And there are two projects underway on Saadiyat Island: TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi and Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi.
Al Zaabi said that as many as three new projects will be announced in the coming months.
“There is more to come, in the pipeline. They are very interesting projects. They will play a role in elevating tourism sector to the next level.”
The island has a busy calendar of events, especially being held at the iconic Etihad Arena.
“Just imagine, we had a lockdown last year, and this year in less than 12 to 18 months, we literally have a calendar of events every single weekend.”
Hosted recently at the Etihad Arena, ‘Disney On Ice’ saw more than 30,000 fans in attendance, and NBA Games Abu Dhabi and UFC 280 were both sold out sporting extravaganzas.
“This reflects how strong the tourism industry is here in Abu Dhabi, and our reputation in the local and international market,” he said and noted MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry is “doing very well”.
Some of the other major events coming to the island soon are the Middle East debut of The Lion King show, Formula One Grand Prix, National Day celebrations, World Triathlon Championship Finals, AR Rahman concert etc.
Taking innovation to new heights, soon people will be able to enjoy the island on metaverse too.
“This is one of the areas we need to explore. That’s why we decided with our partners to test this new idea, and in future proactively use this platform to raise awareness about the island, let them virtually experience the island before they visit.”
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