190904 Alawi Al Aidaros
Alawi Al Aidaros Image Credit: Supplied

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Abu Dhabi: More and more young Emiratis are entering the country’s tourism and entertainment sector, taking up key positions and interacting with visitors at some of Abu Dhabi’s busiest attractions such as Warner Bros. World and Ferrari World as part of Miral’s Ambassador Programme.

Since 2016, the programme has trained 200 Emiratis on the ins and outs of carving a successful career path within the tourism sector, with more than 150 of those trainees going on to have full-time careers.

“The success of the programme is part of our commitment in building the required skills among the Emirati workforce within the entertainment and leisure sector,” said Mariam Al Musharrekh, associate director of Human Resources for Miral.

“With a vision to expand the programme, we hope to inspire and encourage more young professionals to become ambassadors of the tourism industry, which is key to the growth of the economy,” she added.

190914 Ebrahim Al Haj Ali
Ebrahim Al Haj Ali Image Credit: Supplied

“As someone who helped set up the programme from day one, I feel great pride to see our ambassadors on the ground flourishing in their careers in fields such as guest services, retail, merchandise, and/or rides and attractions’ operations,” she said, highlighting the success of the programme.

Alawi Omar Abdulqader Al Aidaros is among the Emiratis to have successfully completed the programme, going on to become an assistant manager for operations at Warner Bros. World.

“I graduated from college with a degree in Chemical Engineering and didn’t know much about the leisure and entertainment sector. I was attracted to the Ambassador Programme because it positions Emiratis like myself at the forefront of the nation’s fastest evolving industries and offers an opportunity for career development.

“The Ambassador Programme opened my mind to career options I didn’t know existed. Today, I’m proud to be the first Emirati national from the Ambassador Programme to have worked in operations at any of the three Yas Island theme parks,” he added, highlighting how he never expected a career in tourism.

Al Aidaros spoke positively on his interactions with visitors, and said it was important for tourists to have the chance to meet with Emiratis first hand on their visits.

“We’re greeted with warmth and friendliness because that’s what guests receive in return. The UAE is well known for its hospitality, and being an Emirati ambassador allows me to uphold and promote national values such as this.

“We are gaining a great opportunity to learn from the experiences of others while sharing our own insight. As more of my fellow ambassadors take up front-of-house and managerial roles, we’re also contributing to a type of cultural exchange each time Yas Island’s attractions open their doors and we interact with guests,” he added.

Hamda Al Mehairbi, who has also forged a career path as a food and beverage coordinator at Yas Waterworld, said she enjoyed engaging with tourists from all around the world.

“I love new adventures and was keen to join the Ambassador Programme because it allowed me to step outside my comfort zone while enjoying my day job. I have always been passionate about working in a multi-cultural environment where I could engage with people from all over the world.

“My job keeps me highly motivated and energetic every day because of the warmth I receive from our guests every time we’re on-site. They’re most often excited to interact with us and share their experiences, and as an ambassador, I take great pride in knowing these experiences will always be associated with my country,” she added.

Al Mehairbi said that engaging with so many different nationalities also brought its challenges along the way.

“The biggest challenge I faced in the early days of training was how to properly manage feedback and customer concerns. As people from different cultures and backgrounds have different ways of communicating.

“It took me a while to learn all the subtle ways in which I could address customer queries and I’m proud to have mastered the skill,” she added.

Ibrahim Al Haj Ali, who works as a retail team leader at Ferrari World said he never worked in the tourism industry before his current role, explaining how his passion for theme parks and making people happy motivated him to join.

“I wanted to be an ambassador because every time you come into work, you’re making someone’s day that little bit better. I have always been passionate about Yas Island’s theme parks and knew before I joined the programme that we’d be contributing to the experience they provide for guests.

“I was also keen to pursue a job that allows me to be on the move and doesn’t require simply sitting behind a desk,” he added.

“At any given day, our guests are always thrilled to interact with us, as we are a source of insight to both the attraction and the country. I love being able to talk to people, guide them, and find new ways to make their experience more enjoyable,” he said, highlighting the daily satisfaction he gets from his role.

Ali also said his job in the tourism sector made him much more appreciative on the importance of cultural exchanges with people from different parts of the world.

“I always took cross-cultural exchanges for granted, given that I already lived in a diverse country,” he said. “But working in such a popular tourism location and having that added professional responsibility really showed me the value of being culturally mindful when communicating with people of different backgrounds.”