Encouraging Emiratis to Join the Leisure, Entertainment and Tourism Sectors


The Leisure and Entertainment sector is thriving. In addition to the growing need for L&E options within the MENA region, we’re also witnessing a global surge as more and more people want to travel, splurge and experience after years of travel restrictions and putting life on hold. Taken all together, there is tremendous potential within our industry.

What’s less well articulated is how we can better staff the industry and why we should staff it with our best. It takes people, after all, to fully realise the potential – of an idea, an emergent sector, or even a nation.

The 2022 Arabian Travel Market highlighted travel, tourism and ancillary sectors including hospitality, leisure, and entertainment. I wanted to share some thoughts on why more people – particularly Emiratis – should consider working in this space.

First, the sector’s robustness. The global recreation market is steadily recovering, returning to the predicted 14% CAGR. Closer to home, our region is witnessing tremendous growth, with billions being invested in new or updated entertainment and leisure destinations. In the UAE, we are in an optimal place for action, able and willing to expand on decades of established excellence. Here in Abu Dhabi, revolutionary new initiatives including SeaWorld Abu Dhabi and the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi ensure we are well on course to delivering on the emirate’s goal to draw more tourists every year.

Second, to contribute to the nation. Our leaders and their initiatives including the ‘Projects of the 50’ have reminded us, if we want to build a more resilient and globally competitive nation, we must develop competencies in every sector. At Miral, we have multiple pathways – including our two-year Maharaty talent development programme, and the three-month Ambassador training programme – to ensure that more and more Emiratis are not just welcomed but equipped to lead in this sector.  

Maharaty talent development programme, launched in September of last year, targets fresh graduates and unemployed UAE Nationals between the ages of 21 to 25, aiming to build a solid foundation for UAE Nationals in their career development. The program provides them with the tools to foster and nurture their capabilities, knowledge, and leadership skills within the leisure, entertainment, and tourism industries, while also helping them gain the required experience to join the LET sector.

The training program runs for a period of 2 years with the objective of supporting trainees in building their careers and matching them with relevant opportunities based on their merit within the Miral Group.

The three-month Ambassador training programme, which was launched in 2017, aims to train and recruit Emiratis to be part of the UAE theme park industry. The programme focuses on providing participants with hands-on training at Miral’s world-class theme parks, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, where they can be equipped with the required skills and knowledge to join the theme park industry and excel in the leisure and entertainment sector. 

To date, the programme reached a milestone by recruiting 500 Emiratis into it, with around 150 of whom have thrived and reached managerial positions across Yas Island’s various attractions.

Miral’s training programmes and initiatives noy only do they play a crucial role in shaping the youths’ careers, but they also promote a culture of learning and sharing of good practices, in addition to enabling continuous improvement in their communication skills, social relations and mutual culture.

Third, to be equipped for an increasingly technological world such as emerging and future tech including VR, AR, AI and machine learning are now integrated into leisure and entertainment, particularly in the theme parks and leisure and entertainment destinations in which Miral leads. Joining the digital transformation journey, incorporating innovations from our facial recognition FacePass to our data analytics across our operations, will place joiners at the cutting edge of the 4IR world.

Fourth, to be responsible for making lives better. As Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences, we aim to bring joy, delight and unforgettable experiences to all we encounter. Every one of our people, whether they work on the macro development and realisation level to micro-level service, from engineering to finance, plays a role in this. Any and every idea can easily end up helping others live some of the best moments of their lives.

Fifth, to find a workplace that matches your cultural priorities. For most of us, money is not a primary motivator – being the best that we possibly can be, and championing our families, communities for the good of our nation are all crucial. In a fast-changing and increasingly competitive world, finding a workplace that shares your values can be difficult. Flexible working frameworks, ethical policies and facilities are crucial, and I’m proud of what our teams at Miral have done to embed these across our operations.

In my seven years at Miral, I’ve seen firsthand how these policies have changed not just individual lives but our community. Through our Ambassador and Maharaty programmes alone, hundreds of young Emiratis have learned about all aspects of our operations, our sectors and about business and management, and are now making a difference wherever they are. I have no doubt that the knowledge and experience they accumulated with us will benefit our nation and reinforce its hospitality culture.

To those who are our best, this is an open invitation to all Emiratis to consider joining us at Miral and in the leisure and entertainment industry. The opportunity – to contribute to Abu Dhabi’s growth and the UAE’s advance, to shape international and local guests’ impressions about us and our potential, to create powerful and memorable experiences for others, and to grow yourself and your future – is yours for the taking.

So, Welcome!