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Focus on Investment and Innovation within Abu Dhabi’s Leisure and Entertainment Industry

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Focus on Investment and Innovation within Abu Dhabi’s Leisure and Entertainment Industry



The theme for the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) 2023, taking place from 25-27 September at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, is Focus on investment’. The conference programme will comprise several content tracks under the main theme, including Investment, Operating Models, Innovation, the Future of Tourism and ESG. In the lead up to the event we asked several industry partners about their focus on investment in 2023 and beyond.

Today’s leisure, entertainment, and tourism industry finds itself in a promising era of recovery, taking stock of recent global challenges and rising to new opportunities. But if I take a moment to reflect on the biggest lesson we have learned, it is that lasting change does not happen in siloes. True value lies in collective action.

This is a realisation that has long been driving strategic partnerships and investments at Miral, as we join hands with industry leaders from around the world to transform the leisure and entertainment landscape in Abu Dhabi. Our unique portfolio of experiences – including many world-firsts and record-breaking attractions – on Yas Island, Saadiyat Island, and across Abu Dhabi – offers unrivalled opportunities for investors to capitalise on the Emirate’s sustainable, diversified, and globally integrated economy.

Yas Island’s growth into a favourable destination for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) is testament to how we are attracting promising overseas investments to Abu Dhabi and reinforcing the Emirate’s position as a prime location for international investments. The Island’s all-encompassing proposition makes it an ideal hospitality investment destination. Strong foundations are already in place through our partnership with the Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition, attracting larger MICE groups through the creation of the Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau and the Miral Joint Business Event Fund. These joint initiatives enable us to strengthen Yas Island’s unique “business meets leisure” appeal, offering guests everything in one place – from world-class theme parks, attractions, diverse hotels, mall, and golf to extensive venues options for large-scale conferences, corporate gala dinners, formal team buildings, award shows, and many more.

Long-standing partnerships with global intellectual property holders are another high-value tourism investment opportunity, enabling us to bring unparalleled entertainment experiences to Yas Island. For example, the opening of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, followed by the world’s first Warner Bros-branded hotel, The WB Abu Dhabi. We also recently announced the region’s first Harry Potter-themed land will be added to the park’s six other immersive zones.

Equally, we understand the importance of investing in innovative digital tools, big data, and predictive analytics. Creating an innovation-friendly economy has long been central to Abu Dhabi’s future development strategy, guided by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. As such, Miral places great importance on evolving into a data-driven organisation and bolstering the Emirate’s position as a data-driven capital. It is the key to creating more compelling visitor propositions for our guests – be it through our ‘Noor Initiative’, a decision analytics strategy; FacePass, our facial recognition technology, to seamlessly enter and make contactless payments within Yas Theme Parks; or our partnership with Microsoft that leverages ChatGPT for a customer-facing generative AI to provide personalised guidance and information.

Beyond business, events, and technology, investments in sustainable solutions are another factor for success. At Miral, environmental considerations are not only a moral duty for us, but a strategic advantage. We carefully balance growth with sustainability to deliver against Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s commitment towards national clean-energy and net-zero objectives. Perhaps our biggest example is the recently opened SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, which embeds Sheikh Zayed’s profound respect for nature across all operations. This includes investments towards a reduced carbon footprint, made possible through solar photovoltaic (PV) system developed in partnership with Emerge, a joint venture of Masdar and French multinational utility company EDF. A similar project is already operational at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, producing 40% of the park’s annual energy demand via an estimated 16,000 solar modules across its roof area of 36,000sqm.

In the years to come, such strategic investments and robust partnerships will remain integral to fully realising Miral’s vision for Abu Dhabi and beyond. Working closely with the world’s leading partners, investors, and brands is how we will continue to define our success, while diversifying the Emirate’s economy.

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