RAS AL KHAIMAH (RAK) has undergone tremendous growth within its tourism sector in the last few years and the emirate is aiming for further improvements with promotional activities planned in Europe, the GCC and other developing markets.
Mahmoud Abu-Ali, RAK tourism director, said: “The government of Ras Al Khaimah is taking tourism very seriously, this is shown by the fact that it is within the economic development department as it is important for the development of the emirate.“
Last year arrivals were approximately half a million, almost double the figure in 2008 when 270,00 tourists visited the country, and Abu-Ali is expecting further increases this year.
Among the world-class hotels available are Cove Rotana, Banyan Tree, Doubletrree by Hilton and The Palace and Hamra Fort and there is another, so far unnamed, property under development which will be alcohol-free.
The tourism director also hopes to attract InterContinental and other international brands.
He said: “This year occupancy has been running at 65 per cent, in 2009 it was around 90 per cent, the drop is due to the opening of new hotels and average room rate has also gone down – the additional choice and availability is a good thing for the emirate’s tourism industry.“
He added that the tourism division is promoting the Ras Al Khaimah brand by taking part in international exhibitions, such as World Travel Market, to support ongoing marketing campaigns in the European markets, which collectively accounted for about 54 per cent of the total number of visitors to the emirate last year.
Ras Al Khaimah has recently signed a marketing deal with ABTA in the UK, which is a market the division is keen to develop alongside its existing biggest source markets of Germany and Russia.
He added: “We will also be conducting workshops to present the destination to new markets such as India and China and targeting the GCC markets particularly Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia with plans to take part in a travel and tourism show in Riyadh next year.
“Ras Al Khaimah is a virgin territory, natural and unspoiled with fabulous natural beauty from the sea to the mountains.
“We are working hard to keep it that way at the same time as developing our tourism industry which has incredible potential for the growth of our economy.“
And there is also major effort going into the development of the adventure tourism sector taking in activities such as climbing and diving and also into Mice travel to take advantage of the Hamra convention centre and the new expo centre which is currently under construction.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
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