Yas Island aims to raise tourism profile and double visits

Yas plans to almost double visits to 48 million within six years and make the Abu Dhabi island one of the world’s top family destinations.

Miral, which is responsible for promoting the destination worldwide, said it expects visitor numbers to rise by 15 per cent this year. “Tourism is a significant pillar of the emirate’s growth and development plans,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, the chairman of Miral.

The UAE is investing billions of dollars in massive theme park projects as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on oil revenues and attract more tourists.

Dubai last month opened IMG Worlds of Adventure, billed as the world’s largest indoor theme park. Next month, Dubai Parks and Resorts will open another collection of theme parks on the outskirts of the city.

Yas Island, already home to Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld, will get another draw for thrill-seekers when Miral opens a Warner Bros theme park in 2018. By that time, 30 million visitors a year are expected to be made to the island, said Mohammed Abudullah Al Zaabi, the chief executive of Miral Asset Management.

Miral yesterday also launched a new logo for Yas Island with the tagline “live the dream” and a new website in Arabic and English as part of its “Yas Dream” campaign.

“With the success of the island, you need to evolve and take it to the next level and so we are launching the new logo and the new vision,” Mr Al Zaabi said.

The top source markets for Yas Island include China, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany and the UK, as well as the UAE.

The introduction of visas on arrival for Chinese visitors is expected to be a major boon for the destination, said John Podaras, a partner at the hospitality consultancy Hotel Development Resources in Dubai. “The drive for numbers, however, will mean that there will be proportionally more of the group tourists that typically undertake tours of the region, staying for a short time in each location, usually on an all-inclusive basis,” he said.

Yas Island also expects to attract conference-goers, looking to host 100,000 corporate travellers by 2022 by promoting attractions such as the world’s fastest roller coaster.

Hotel rooms will also increase to 4,000, across all categories, up from the current 2,500 rooms at seven hotels.

In June, Miral said it signed a deal with SkyTran, a Nasa company, to deploy a rapid personal transport system based on magnetic levitation instead of wheels, to take visitors, for example, from a hotel to a leisure attraction.

By the middle of next year, Miral aims to have a clear plan about the delivery of the project, Mr Al Zaabi said on Monday.

More than 600,000 people visited Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi this summer, according to Yas Island.


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Published: September 27, 2016 04:00 AM


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