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Saif Rashid Al Noaimi – Portrait

UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Sports

Saif Rashid Al-Noaimi

CEO, Ethara

Bio

Saif Rashid Al-Noaimi is CEO of Ethara, an entertainment, events, and venue management powerhouse employing over 300 professionals. Prior to the integration, he was CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management and a board member of Flash Entertainment. He led the award-winning team that delivered the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with recent editions under his leadership, witnessing record attendances and the fastest sell-out in the event’s history in 2022. Prior to his role at ADMM, he held high level positions at Mubadala Development Company, Synergy Commercial Investments, and Al Fares Real Estate, before serving as acting chief – regulatory and strategic affairs at the National Electronic Security Authority. He studied industrial engineering and engineering management in Boston before returning to the UAE and obtaining a level 1 qualification from the Chartered Financial Analyst program.

"In November 2022, we concluded our 14th edition of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and it was a record year for us in terms of attendance."
Ethara operates the Yas Marina Circuit, which has, for over a decade, hosted the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The event only continues to grow in size and scope.
Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has become a landmark for tourists visiting Abu Dhabi. How has this event established the Emirate as a preferred destination?

In November 2022, we concluded our 14th edition of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and it was a record year for us in terms of attendance. On the ground, we had over 150,000 visitors over the Grand Prix weekend, which is a significant increase on the previous years; however, more interestingly, we had over 70% of attendees coming from outside the UAE. YoY, in terms of international visits, people are coming to the Grand Prix not only for the race, but also to experience everything else that Abu Dhabi and Yas Island has to offer. There is so much going on in Yas Island, and more people are coming and spending much more time in Abu Dhabi.

What is the comparative advantage of Yas Marina Circuit?

Fans and attendees come to Yas Island for the many layers of experience the Grand Prix week offers. A good number of attendees come for the motorsport, but a greater proportion come for the amazing mix of entertainment and motorsport. It is not purely about motorsports, though there are obviously a high number of motorsports enthusiasts who come to watch the race. There are also many people who come to experience Abu Dhabi. Yas Marina Circuit prides itself on being the “Meeting Place of champions,” and not just for F1, but all-year round. Off track, the Grand Prix week is a platform to do business, where business champions of the world come to Abu Dhabi to conduct business and come for meetings throughout the week. A great deal of business is conducted over that week, and there are at the same time many events taking place around the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Aside from the racing, there is also entertainment. Where else in the world can you, in one day, visit a world-renowned theme park, watch an F1 race, and visit the Louvre?

Which programs and initiatives does the circuit have for young athletes and enthusiasts?

That is something we are excited about, and we have what we call the Yas Heat Academy and Yas Heat Racing team, an initiative that we launched in 2020 to attract and develop young enthusiasts in motor sports. We operate on multiple pillars of motor sports, starting at the entry level where everyone enters motorsports, including go-karting as well as esports. In 2022, we evolved into circuit racing as well, with a team called Yas Heat Racing that participates in Formula4 UAE. We have a number of drivers in that team and support their development and growth. We are particularly excited about the potential because the region is extremely important for motorsports.

What is the Ethara’s mission for the short to medium term for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

For us, 2023 will prove to be an important year as the 15th edition of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. We pride ourselves every year on outdoing what we have achieved before. We have some truly exciting projects for 2023 that will make the event the largest and most sustainable to date. For 2023 we are looking to expand the Abu Dhabi experience to the whole of Yas Island in terms of concerts and after-race concerts. There are F&B offerings on the island, but now we are looking at bringing everything together so that visitors’ F1 tickets give them access to much more.

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