Off hours: Yas Island executive stays on course with weekly rounds

Clive Dwyer is the executive director of Destination Yas Island — the company responsible for promoting Yas Island in the region and beyond. The Australian, 56, has been living in the UAE for the past two years. Mr Dwyer has a son and a daughter, aged 20 and 19, who are currently university students in Melbourne.

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

My new passion is golf. I also like going to events and restaurants and spending time with my friends. Since I live very close to Yas Island, there is always something going on.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobby?

It used to be sailing and ocean racing but there is not a lot of that here unfortunately. This is why golf is my new passion. I started playing two years ago at Saadiyat. I play with a group of friends every Friday morning from 7am until noon and Monday night for an hour. I would probably say I play six hours a week.

What can’t you live without?

Day to day, I like being challenged. I find the ongoing development of Yas Island very challenging. It represents interesting opportunities, since it is only 40 per cent developed. It will take a lot of strategic planning to integrate it into the development of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. There are always challenges in what you want to bring now and where you want to be in the future. Another thing I can’t live without is good coffee.

What do you consider the secret to your success?

Being able to combine a passion for what you do with the ability to manage and prioritise the task at hand. Every day, there is something that can distract you from very important things, so stay passionate but also have good planning. I think the secret of success for me is recognising the importance of a powerful partnership. [In my line of work] you have to have strong partnerships with hotels, airlines and tourism bodies and international representation.

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What advice would you offer others starting out in your business)?

Looking back, it is always the ability to have short and long term goals. Sometimes things don’t always go the way you want on a day-to-day basis, but if you have a long-term vision for where you want to go, then you can keep going in a steady manner. Another thing is to never stop learning. Even now, I learn something new every day. The world is changing and the business environment is changing. As long as you respect the fact that there is always something to learn, I think this will help you be successful in your business.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

That’s tricky one. I live in Al Raha Beach which is next to Yas Island. So basically where I live is where I work and also where I play. I think making sure that the life-work balance is important. Recognising that time with family and friends is really important.

How do you relax after the working day?

By doing something a little bit physical such as going for walk or a swim. When I go for a walk, I come back feeling refreshed. I try to break from work completely and not take much home. That way when I go back it is easier to focus on the tasks of the day, the month and the year ahead. It is important to have a break between work and play.

If you weren’t executive director of this company what else would you be doing?

I’ve always focused on developing marketing destinations, especially from a tourism point of view. And I’ve always been working on major events. If I wasn’t here, I would be doing this somewhere else in the world. But I think I am in the right spot doing the right thing. I am planning to stay.

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Shereen El Gazzar

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