Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Devel­op­ment Author­ity

Ras Al Khaimah Business Travel Guide - - RAS AL KHAIMAH -

THE RAS Al Khaimah Tourism Devel­op­ment Author­ity (RAKTDA) was es­tab­lished in May, 2011 as a Gov­ern­ment en­tity of Ras Al Khaimah. RAKTDA’s main pur­pose was and is to de­velop and pro­mote the Emi­rate’s tourism in­fra­struc­ture and po­ten­tial both do­mes­ti­cally and abroad, and to es­tab­lish Ras Al Khaimah as a des­ti­na­tion that de­liv­ers a com­pre­hen­sive set of of­fer­ings to vis­i­tors, from lux­ury through to af­ford­able travel.

In or­der to achieve its goals, RAKTDA has a Gov­ern­ment man­date to li­cense, reg­u­late and mon­i­tor the Emi­rate’s tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, to de­velop the Emi­rate’s tourism in­fra­struc­ture and at­trac­tions, and to gen­er­ate and en­cour­age di­rect tourism in­vest­ment and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties into Ras Al Khaimah.

RAKTDA’s am­bi­tion is there­fore to ad­vance the devel­op­ment of a sus­tain­able and com­pet­i­tive tourism in­dus­try by work­ing with the in­dus­try and other stake­hold­ers to achieve its tar­gets for vis­i­tor num­bers, rev­enue and job cre­ation. Q EME Out­look (EME): Since in­cep­tion, how has the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Devel­op­ment Author­ity de­vel­oped and pro­gressed in terms of its key ob­jec­tives and the mes­sages it tries to get across?

Haitham Mat­ter, RAKTDA (HM): Ras Al Khaimah is now one of the fastest grow­ing tourism des­ti­na­tions. In 2016, we wel­comed 820,772 vis­i­tors, a 10.9 percent year-on-year in­crease. Full year fig­ures show im­pres­sive growth from all our top mar­kets; Ger­many, UK, Rus­sia and In­dia.

In ad­di­tion to dou­ble-digit year-onyear growth in in­ter­na­tional guest ar­rivals dur­ing H1, 2017, av­er­age ho­tel oc­cu­pancy jumped to 72.7 percent, an in­crease of 4.7 percent on the cor­re­spond­ing six-month pe­riod in 2016.

Ro­bust H1 growth was posted across all key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors with to­tal guest nights up 17 percent, the av­er­age length of stay up by 10.5 percent and room rev­enue up by 13.3 percent.

These strong per­for­mance fig­ures in­di­cate that Ras Al Khaimah is on track to wel­come 900,000 vis­i­tors in 2017. By the end of 2018, our tar­get is to reach one mil­lion vis­i­tors.

Q EME: Tak­ing a more gen­eral in­dus­try stance, how would you eval­u­ate the tourism sec­tor in Ras Al Khaimah now com­pared to its con­di­tion when the Tourism Devel­op­ment Author­ity be­gan?

HM: Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism strat­egy in­volves at­tract­ing high-yield seg­ments from core tar­get mar­kets to cre­ate a more sus­tain­able des­ti­na­tion. These core mar­kets in­clude the UAE, Ger­many, Rus­sia & CIS, UK, In­dia and West­ern and North­ern Europe.

Fur­ther­more, we will tar­get both con­sumer (cul­tural ex­plor­ers, ad­ven­tur­ers and well­ness seek­ers) and cor­po­rate (travel trade, in­vestors, in­dus­try, gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity) au­di­ences.

These mar­kets not only out­line our prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, but they also

al­low us to pro­mote Ras Al Khaimah’s USPs, in­clud­ing 64 kilo­me­tres of pris­tine beaches, the high­est moun­tains in the UAE, hot springs, man­groves and a ter­ra­cotta desert.

[Mean­while], a key area for ho­tel growth is Al Mar­jan Is­land, an ar­chi­pel­ago stretch­ing 4.5 kilo­me­tres out to sea. Al­ready boast­ing the Rixos Bab Al Bahr, Dou­bleTree by Hil­ton Ho­tel Re­sort & Spa Mar­jan Is­land, and Mar­jan Is­land Re­sort & Spa, man­aged by Ac­corHo­tels, the is­land has been ear­marked for an ad­di­tional 20 ho­tels by 2025.

Work­ing with in­de­pen­dent as­ses­sors, we have out­lined strong re­turn on beach and moun­tain prop­er­ties. Look­ing at beach re­sorts in par­tic­u­lar, ex­ist­ing ho­tels have shown high profit con­ver­sion when com­pared to sim­i­lar re­gional mar­kets.

Q EME: What is in store for Ras Al Khaimah for the re­main­der of 2017 and be­yond to con­tinue the good work al­ready com­menced and to en­hance its rep­u­ta­tion as a tourism and busi­ness travel hub fur­ther in the fu­ture?

HM: For the rest of 2017, we will be pro­mot­ing Des­ti­na­tion Jebel Jais, which in­cludes devel­op­ment projects fo­cused on the UAE’s high­est moun­tain. These projects spear­head a drive to trans­form Jebel Jais into an ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­ity hub: in­clud­ing the Jebel Jais Via Fer­rata, the Gulf’s first com­mer­cial iron path; the Jebel Jais View­ing Deck over­look­ing the Ha­jar Moun­tains; and in Q4, the world’s long­est zip line.

All of our up­com­ing tourism prod­ucts have been de­signed to en­hance our nat­u­ral as­sets and protect the en­vi­ron­ment. For ex­am­ple, con­struc­tion on our ob­ser­va­tion deck utilises en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly re­sources, such as LED light­ing, so­lar pan­els and pho­to­voltaic fab­ric ma­te­ri­als to al­low for clean en­ergy op­er­a­tions.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, we plan to achieve con­tin­ued growth from all our key mar­kets. Specif­i­cally, we look for­ward to wel­com­ing one mil­lion vis­i­tors by the end of 2018.

Mean­while, new prod­uct launches, rep­re­sen­ta­tion of­fices and trade part­ners, along with in­creased mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and over­seas road­shows with trade and me­dia, will all help to raise aware­ness, boost vis­i­tor ar­rivals and di­ver­sify our source mar­kets.

Q EME: Fi­nally, what progress and devel­op­ment would you hope and ex­pect to be able to re­port back in the fu­ture for both the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Devel­op­ment Author­ity and Ras Al Khaimah as a whole?

HM: Our vi­sion is to cre­ate a sus­tain­able and com­pet­i­tive tourism des­ti­na­tion and a lead­ing con­trib­u­tor to the Ras Al Khaimah econ­omy. We will in­spire peo­ple from around the world to visit the Emi­rate and grow tourism into Ras Al Khaimah’s lead­ing so­cio-economic driver, en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of life for res­i­dents and of­fer­ing in­vestors at­trac­tive and sus­tain­able op­por­tu­ni­ties across mul­ti­ple sec­tors.

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