CEO of Miral Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi speaks to Team Yalla about the opening of Yas Bay Waterfront and Yas Island.
The slogan on the Miral website reads ‘Guided by our past, to shape our future’. How does this translate to what we see today at Yas Bay Waterfront and on Yas Island?
When we design a place such as Yas Bay Waterfront, for example, we think about our heritage, our culture that is shared by this region and it is this feeling that we wish to share with visitors.
When you are here sat in Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar, I think you’ll agree that one feels that you are aboard a large boat sailing on open water. This concept reflects the lives of our forefathers who undertook pearl diving for a living. We have conveyed that history into the new lifestyle destination here on Yas Island and the team have done an excellent job in delivering such a concept.
You have successfully forged partnerships. What does it take to bring these partnerships to fruition?
First and foremost, vision and commitment.
If you have both of those you can deliver anything you want. We also have a great leadership in Abu Dhabi, especially, and the UAE in general who supports that vision and those ideas in order to achieve such great projects.
We are extremely lucky and privileged to be here as part of Miral and very privileged to be in Abu Dhabi and have such great support from Abu Dhabi leaders through their vison and action, but also through the infrastructure here in Abu Dhabi.
Everybody here supports you; all the different entities try to make your life easier, which is the new style of working in Abu Dhabi. It’s an environment of supporting each other, here at Miral and everybody in Abu Dhabi.
This year Miral is celebrating 10 years and we are happy and excited in terms of what has been achieved. During those ten years we have delivered projects worth 9.5 billion dirhams and only for the last two years, 2020-2021, we delivered 4.5 billion worth of projects out of the total of 9.5 billion to date.
This level of achievement cannot be achieved without vision, commitment and a team to work hard to bring all of this into fruition.
During the height of the pandemic, Miral continued to forge a path in terms of delivering projects. Could you tell me more about that?
One thing about Miral, and we should of course give credit to the city of Abu Dhabi, is that innovation is part of our DNA and we always try to think out of the box. We asked the question ‘What can we do to get out of this challenge and come up with a solution?’
Fight Island was one of those ideas, and again I would give credit to the city that led with this idea and which we facilitated on Yas Island, of which we are very proud.
The pandemic was a great lesson for all of us. We learned a lot and we are coming out of it stronger, smarter and more efficient.
What does it mean to Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the region to have the leading leisure and entertainment hub on Yas Island?
First of all, I would say that Yas Island has a vision which was set by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2007, who had then a clear vision for Yas Island to be one of the top entertainment destinations worldwide. Since that date until today, we are proactively and aggressively working towards that vision.
Every year since 2009, we have been launching new projects on the Island. There is more to come and we will not stop; we work day and night, seven days a week to ensure that Yas Island has always something new for our guests to come and enjoy.
We want to make sure that every family member has something to do here on the Island.
How proud do you feel about Yas Bay Waterfront and Yas Island?
I’m proud of the UAE first and foremost; we’ve just celebrated the 50th anniversary and if you look back at what we have achieved as a country in those 50 years, it’s a miracle. It’s not easy and it is a result from having a vision.
The Founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan implemented that vison and the foundation of this country and we are just following those steps. And of course, I’m very proud of being part of Miral and very proud of my team.
What else can we expect at Yas Bay Waterfront in the near future?
We now have 13 restaurants already open and there will be 15 by the end of December. By May there will be 20 restaurants open in Yas Bay Waterfront.
There is more coming too, as we have sold a number of plots. We have just laid the foundations in for a new destination and Etihad Arena will change the way we manage our calendar of events; now we are ready to accommodate different types of events.
For example, FINA Swimming Championships (25m) are coming for the first time to the UAE, with more to come to the Island as a whole and I’m excited to say that in January we will announce the events for the coming year.
As the CEO of Miral, what is your message to the world from Yas Island and the UAE?
Quite simply, our doors are open and everybody is welcome.