Interview: Marijana Mihajlovic, director of Business Development, Experience Hub

1 Jun 2021 by Business Traveller India
Marijana Mihajlovic Director of Business Development, Experience Hub.

As Abu Dhabi’s premier leisure and entertainment destination, Yas Island is rolling out a range of new initiatives to ensure a safe experience. We talk to Marijana Mihajlovic, director of Business Development, Experience Hub, the trade and promotion arm of Yas Island for more updates.

Highlight the safety measures that are undertaken and vaccination drive. 

We do understand that safety is the number one concern for all travellers. Since the beginning, Yas Island has assured the residents of UAE that high standards of safety and hygiene are being implemented during their time on the island. The destination has also introduced numerous initiatives such as Yas Wellness Programme which grants guests direct access to a dedicated team of Yas Wellness ambassadors who are able to answer queries on the health and safety measures that are currently in place and #TogetherAtYas, a one-stop-shop for all responsible and fun experiences that can be enjoyed. To add to that, I think we are one of the most unique destinations in the world where we managed to vaccinate 95 per cent of our staff across all islands.

Yas Island’s theme parks and attractions have also been awarded the Go Safe certification by the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi. This includes Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and CLYMB Abu Dhabi. So the certification is one of the 25 health and safety accreditations received. The destination also has received the coveted WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.  Cutting edge facial recognition technology has also been introduced at the destination.

Tell us about the new offerings that Indian travellers can expect, and is India among the top source markets for the destination currently?

Yas Theme Parks- Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and CLYMB are the first theme parks in the region to adopt cutting-edge contactless technology. We have used this time to adapt, push the boundaries and have something new to share.

Among the new openings is Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, launched in February 2021. It is part of the vibrant Yas Bay development. The property is Yas Island’s first five-star family hotel by the beach. The hotel is a part of Miral’s AED 4 billion investment into the new AED 12 billion Yas Bay. This shows that the development on the island is not stopping.

On the tenth anniversary of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, we launched two new experiences, one is the Roof Walk and the second is the Zip Line. This year we also saw the first live event at the Etihad Arena. We had the UFC Fights on the island and we are very excited to welcome Michael McIntyre, a popular standup comedian who will join us at Etihad Arena by July.

India is always going to be in our top source markets. So, the top source markets for us include India, Russia, China and GCC. And when the situation starts to ease and the travellers are able to come, we will include all the source markets gradually into our island. But India still remains at the top.

Yas Island

Reasons to exhibit Yas Island at ATM

Experience Hub is the trade and promotion arm of Yas Island. So, what we want to do is highlight the destination’s readiness as it looks forward to welcoming back all the travellers. And we believe that ATM (Arabian Travel Market) is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with all the trade partners that we lost physical contact with; and we want to prepare and strengthen whatever we have been working on behind the scenes, so we are ready for the opening in the international markets.

In addition, we want to be ready with our new packages. We have launched the Kids Go free (get access to the UAE’s theme parks, hotels, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi) product and once the doors reopen, we are more than happy to welcome the Indian travellers back with the latest offerings.

Tell us about a few promotional campaigns for India?

We are working very closely with the Abu Dhabi tourism board and also with our partners in India. We are working on the big reopening campaign for India. So, depending on when the opening dates would be announced, we will adjust the products. We are hoping it is going to be before Diwali festival.

Elaborate on the contactless journey. 

The facial recognition technology enables us to not only further enhance the safety element, but also speeds up the process. What we are doing right now is enabling Yas Island theme parks in the region to implement complete contactless access. Cutting-edge technology is part of our vision to position Yas Island as the top global destination. The digital transformation facilitated by Yas Island mobile app and linked to the island’s parks and attractions’ ticketing systems and turnstiles, allowing guests and Annual Pass holders contactless access at points of entry and contactless payment via facial recognition across select outlets.

Rolled out in phases across the island, it will streamline guest experiences using facial recognition.


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