Miral signed a deal with the US-based SkyTran – a NASA Space Act company – in 2016, to develop a high-speed, low-cost, elevated personal rapid transport system based on magnetic levitation. The computer-controlled, two-person vehicles will have cars zipping along magnetic lines from one destination to another across the island, and will be designed to allow for easy expansion of the network at a later date, so that more tracks and additional vehicles can be added when needed.
“There are many phases to this project, as well as a plan to possibly connect further into Abu Dhabi in the future,” Al Zaabi says.
To date, the developer has outlined Phases 1 and 2 of the SkyTran project, but with the concept still in the design phase, Miral has yet to specify a deadline for the completion of the cable car implementation.
Miral’s extensive digital strategy, which was launched last November, is another way in which the developer is bolstering connectivity on the island. The company rolled-out the first phase of its digital transformation project this year, striving to connect the island’s major destinations through the development of digital services. The infrastructure for the project was developed in early 2017, to enable the launch of the platform’s digital assets across Miral’s attractions on Yas Island.
“Digital has become a challenge for everyone. The customer has become more knowledgeable, everything is at their fingertips, and they know their options before they even leave their homes,” Al Zaabi says. “But now the customer can virtually visit Yas before even stepping foot on the island.”
In a statement last year, Miral said its digital strategy aimed to deliver a “wall-less resort vision” across its hotels, malls, and theme parks, in order to create “a fully connected experience for customers visiting the island”.
Al Zaabi tells Construction Week that the developer will award at least three construction contracts for projects on the island this year. “We are going to award one contract in Yas South, one for SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, and one for another project that is to be announced,” he explains.
“For this year, we are very busy with SeaWorld and Yas Bay, which are very big projects, but we have one smaller project that we will be launching soon,” he adds.
Although the chief executive is still not ready to reveal any further details about this “smaller project”, he confirms that an announcement will be made in the second half of this year.
“[Developers] have to be smart in their marketing, and they have to be flexible in the way they promote their destination,” he says.
“You also have to pick the right market. My team was smart enough to be active in different countries […], which has helped us sustain our business and grow year-on-year.”