Focus: BTN interview: Mohammad El Etri, director of global snow operations and projects, Ski Dubai

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Having been recognised as a leader in global hospitality by the World Ski Awards, Breaking Travel News here sits down with Mohammad El Etri, director of global snow operations and projects, management office, at Ski Dubai, to find out more about the prestigious honour

Breaking Travel News: Congratulations on your victory this year at the World Ski Awards, with Ski Dubai having been honoured with the title of World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort. How does it feel to have won?

Mohammad El Etri: Ski Dubai is extremely proud to be awarded the title of World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort for the fifth consecutive year.

Being in this category among other well-established ski resorts, including our sister brand Ski Egypt, inspires us to keep raising the bar as part of our endless pursuit at Majid Al Futtaim to create great moments for everyone, everyday.

This award is a testament to the passion and dedication of the Ski Dubai team, who ensure that our valued guests can enjoy a world-class experience and exemplary service.

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Our guests are at the heart of everything we do at Majid Al Futtaim and the reason behind our constant drive to go above and beyond.

Ski Dubai is deeply honoured and privileged to have our commitment to excellence recognised by industry peers and guests, who voted for us to receive this prestigious title.

BTN: This is the fifth year in succession that the brand has taken the prestigious trophy – just what is it that makes the location so special?

SD: There are a combination of things that make Ski Dubai the World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort, such as the extreme juxtaposition of being able to ski in real snow in the dessert, its location in the iconic Mall of the Emirates and the wide variety of innovative activities and attractions that we offer for all members of the family.

When it launched in 2005, Ski Dubai was the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and we have gone on to cement our position as one of the region’s most iconic attractions welcoming tourists, snow enthusiasts and guests from all over the world.

Over the last 15 years, Ski Dubai has continued to enhance the guest experience with new innovations in the family-friendly snow park, which is complete with a wide variety of fun activities, and the hugely popular penguin encounter, which is home to a colony of King and Gentoo penguins.

Ski Dubai has been fuelling huge growth in sporting tourism within the region and fostered a winter sports culture in the UAE and each year 80,000 people are introduced to skiing and snowboarding.

Earlier this week, we celebrated our milestone 15th anniversary and, key to our success, has been our continuous commitment to innovation and determination to push the boundaries of possibility.

BTN: How useful are the World Ski Awards when it comes to promoting the attraction to the global ski community?

SD: The World Ski Awards serve as a benchmark for excellence and, as such, are a fantastic international endorsement, particularly given that they are voted for by ski tourism professionals and guests from all around the globe. 

We are extremely grateful to the World Ski Awards for recognising us with this prestigious award, which not only motivates us to achieve more, but provides us with an important platform to showcase our award-winning amenities to the world.

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BTN: Dubai reopened to international tourism in July, and the market has recovered over the past few months. How would you describe the mood in the sector as we head into 2021?

SD: Instilling confidence in tourists and guests will be key to the pace of recovery.

Throughout the global pandemic, we have been conducting extensive guest research and confidence levels are increasing, which bodes well for the industry.

Our guests feel comfortable returning to Ski Dubai and Majid Al Futtaim’s leisure, entertainment and cinemas experiences, with 93 per cent of those surveyed saying that they are ‘satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with the measures we have in place.

This is a testament to our dedication and tireless efforts to maintain innovative and world-class standards so that our guests can enjoy an exceptional and comfortable experience.

Numerous studies have shown that there is a huge pent-up demand for travel, and we anticipate a very strong comeback once more countries start reopening their borders for tourism.

Since reopening, the number of guests has been encouraging and we remain fundamentally confident about the future of the ski tourism industry and are very much looking forward to a successful 2021.

More Information

One of the top visitor destinations in the United Arab Emirates, Ski Dubai is home to a 4,500-metre square snow part.

Advanced skiers will find plenty to enjoy, while there is a chance to go sledding and tobogganing for a more family-orientated day out.

Find out more on the official website.

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