CNN’s IME Programme

Rare glimpse into Dubai Mall’s behind-the-scenes operations
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Mar 10, 2014

DUBAI: Every day, thousands of people visit Dubai Mall and admire its aquarium and underwater zoo, but not many people know about the complexity of maintaining such attractions. CNN’s Inside the Middle East (IME) programme is now shedding light on different aspects of the world’s largest mall. The programme has been well received from its audiences not only within the Middle East but throughout the entire world.
The IME programme team met Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar, to find out what makes his mall — and the nearby Downtown Dubai development — so successful.
The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping centre in the world and is bigger than 50 football fields. According to the property developer, Emaar, it is among the world’s most visited places with 75 million people visiting its shops, restaurants and entertainment outlets in 2013.
Alabbar told CNN, “We tried really hard to make sure it is prestigious, respected, looks after people, customers, companies, shareholders, the whole thing. And I think we’re getting there. We still have to work a little bit, but we’re getting there.”
The IME covered Dubai Aquarium’s maintenance process of this massive city-within-a-city, with an equally massive staff as the facility is home to more than 17,000 fish.
Paul Hamilton, the head curator of Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, said: “A team of 30 biologists, technicians, and divers work round-the-clock in cleaning the tank, feeding the fish and preparing more food up to 250kg per day. It’s a big operation. It’s one of the biggest aquariums in the world and it certainly has its challenges in what we’re trying to do inside the mall, but it’s certainly a success at the same time,” he said.
 Dubai Mall has an army of support staff — more than 25,000 people. But it still takes a lot of time to maintain. For many, work begins as soon as guests leave. Ahmed Hussein, the nightshift cleaning supervisor, clocks in his shift at 10pm.
Hussein and his crew of 100 cleaners help keep the place spic and span. Their team polishes the mall’s more than 147,000 sq. metres of marble and granite every day.
“It’s a huge mall. We try to finish before the opening hour. Sometimes we have 5, 6 hours to finish the entire mall. It’s hard but we like the challenge,” he said.
Lola Nazarova, the operations supervisor of Top of the World, said: “It’s all about crowd management and being very interactive with people and very welcoming. In a day we might expect up to 7,000 or 8,000 visitors.”
Jean Hanna, the director of operations of the Dubai Fountain, said, “The most rewarding part of our job is at night, sitting among the crowds, watching people clapping and dancing, laughing, children taking pictures. You see water, lights, music. It’s magical. It’s beautiful.”
Dubai Mall says more than 200,000 people visit them each day. By any measure, night time is always packed. For maintenance crews, it’s a massive operation. At the end of the day, just after midnight, Ahmed Hussein’s cleaning crew comes back to work.
The IME aired on March 5, 8, 9 and will air again on March 15 and 16.

~ by jamilkhan on March 10, 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: