Travel And Tour World – How is the experience of the Yas Marina Circuit different from all the other Grand Prix Venues of the world?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the only twilight race on the Formula One calendar, making it completely unique as a motorsports event.
Yas Marina Circuit is different in other respects too, for instance, it is the only track where all the grandstands are covered, and where part of the pit lane exit runs underneath the track.
The iconic Yas Viceroy Hotel and Marina offer a visual and spectator experience vastly different to any track.
We have a range of hospitality offerings, which at the very premium end includes the Paddock Club; we have the largest Paddock Club on the F1 circuit and this year we have increased capacity by 1,500. Paddock Club is the first product to sell out for us.
It’s also worth noting the power of Yas Island to attract International visitation. We are the only Circuit to offer major theme parks adjacent to our F1 Circuit. And in 2014, Yas Mall will be open for the Grand Prix.
Travel And Tour World – Around which time of the year does the circuit receive maximum visitation?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : Obviously, our busiest time is the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend in November. This exciting weekend accounts for between 20 and 25 percent of our total annual visitor numbers.
We run an extensive winter calendar of events and attractions from September to May, but we are a 365-days-a-year proposition, offering retail, community and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) products and experiences.
Travel And Tour World: Yas Marina Circuit claims to be much more than an F1 race track. How is that?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : You only need to look at our extensive offerings outside the F1 weekend to see how that claim is justified.
YMC is very much a community facility. Throughout the year, we welcome thousands of people every week taking part in our community fitness programmes. These include TrainYASevery Tuesday, GoYAS on a Wednesday, and our annual races including the ADNIC Yas Run, TriYAS, the Zayed 10k as well as the Color Run.
A record 1,300 triathletes took part in the fourth TriYAS race this year – a 30 percent increase from 2013, while last year’s ADNIC Yas Run attracted 3,000 participants and 3,500 spectators.
20,000 people took part in the Walk 2013, a 5-kilometre walk around the track to promote healthy living and raise awareness around Diabetes. The weekly Tuesday night TrainYAS session attracts an average of 2,500 people.
For thrill-seekers, we provide year-round driver and passenger experiences in a range of exciting cars, as well as Drift and Drag experiences in our Vehicle Dynamic Area and Drag Centre.
Travel And Tour World: How much has Yas Marina Circuit contributed in fulfilling Dubai’s target of meeting 20 million visitors a year?
Al Tareq Al Ameri :Yas Marina Circuit is a global icon and in this sense contributes to the perception of the UAE.
Many of our F1 visitors experience Dubai when they visit and it is this integrated approach that also makes our GP an attractive international proposition.
Travel And Tour How is Yas Marina Circuit doing on sustainability obligations?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : Key to understanding our success is that we are part of a broader strategy for Abu Dhabi, driven by plan 2030. We play our part within this long-term strategy and sustainability sits within this context.
Travel And Tour World: Marina is a dream track, how have you made this track more challenging for F1 races?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : Our Circuit must not only look beautiful, it has to drive extra-ordinarily well.
We’ve seen some of the most exciting races at our Circuit, I’m thinking in particular of 2012 when SebastienVettel came from the back to finish 3rd. For some, it was the race of the season.
Our track combines tight and high-speed turns, and includes the longest straight in F1; all combine to test the drivers to the limit.
And our underground pit lane exit further provides a unique challenge for F1 drivers, forcing cars to negotiate a tight tunnel before they rejoin the race.
Travel And Tour World: What interesting incentives are attached to the Marina package for tourists?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : We have many ticket types on offer for our Grand Prix, and with our Friday one-day Abu Dhabi Hill ticket the process start as low as AED 395.
We work with our title sponsor, Etihad Airways, as well as many professional travel and leisure providers to ensure there are a range of exciting packages (flights, hotels) on offer at many different price points.
Travel And Tour World: How has Yas Marina Circuit evolved today since its inception?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : In terms of what we offer outside the F1 weekend, we have really moved on in leaps and bounds.
Today, YMC is a central part of the Abu Dhabi community. In a sense, Yas Marina Circuit is to Abu Dhabi what Central Park is to New York and Hyde Park is to London.
There are so many opportunities for residents and visitors to experience this amazing venue, whether that is through driver experiences, community fitness events or our Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibitions (MICE) facilities.
It comes as a surprise to many people to learn that about 75 percent of our activity at the circuit happens outside the F1 weekend.
Travel And Tour World: Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit will host the final race of the Formula One season in 2014. How excited are you and what are your expectations from this major event?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : It’s tremendously exciting for me personally and for everyone involved in hosting this prestigious sporting event.
Our ticket sales have exceeded all expectations already this year, and some of our main grandstands are almost sold out six months ahead of the event. That’s particularly impressive, given that the total allocation has increased by 10 percent to 60,000 this year.
The 2014 Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the final stop on this year’s F1 calendar. There are twice as many points on offer for drivers, and the championship is likely to be decided here at Yas Marina Circuit – that bodes well for some real sporting drama!
Travel And Tour World: How hard has it been for you in snatching major racing events from the historic F1 venues like Monaco?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : Our focus is always on ensuring motorsport fans as well as entertainment seekers get the very best experience from their F1 weekend at Yas Marina Circuit. That means providing the best hospitality and the best spectator experience.
We set our own benchmarks and innovate within our own objectives and strategies. We constantly look to ensure we offer a different experience here in Abu Dhabi and one that stands out across the F1 calendar.
Travel And Tour World: How do you plan to make Yas Marina Circuit more technically superior in the coming future what greater addition do you have in mind?
Al Tareq Al Ameri : We are very invested in technology. Moreover, we are very data driven and have extremely strong social media engagement. Developing and enhancing the customer experience through technology is one example of where we are focused.
Already this year we have developed a number of new digital platforms including our mobile enables website, integrated ticketing systems in Facebook and our multi functioning app. We believe in useful technology that enhances what we are here to provide our fans.