(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Emirate attracts investments from major international brands
the ras al khaimah tourism development authority (rak tda) sees huge growth potential in the emirate’s tourism sector due to its diverse landscape rich heritage temperate climate and openings of top-notch hotels and resorts in man-made marjan island its top official says.
steven rice chief executive of rak tda said the emirate is fast establishing itself as a global tourism destination with huge potential for investment in hospitality projects.
“we attracted major regional and international brands including hilton worldwide banyan tree hotels and resorts and rotana hotels & resorts to open premium luxury beach resorts and city hotels to accommodate the growing number of holidaymakers in the emirate” rice told khaleej times on the sidelines of arabian travel market.
he said ras al khaimah’s tourism sector has grown significantly in recent years due to initiatives taken by the government to promote the hospitality industry in the emirate. the emirate has attracted investments from major international brands and saw three new hotels opening on al marjan island in the first quarter of 2014.
“the hotels opening on al marjan island are the 655-key rixos bab al bahr resort which is the largest all-inclusive resort of this magnitude in the uae; the 301-room marjan island resort and spa; and 484-key double tree by hilton resort and spa marjan island” he said.
“the 265-room santorini hotel a part of the bin majid group is also scheduled to open by the end of 2014” he said adding that the increase of five-star resorts and hotels have aided the increase of tourism in the region.
rice said ras al khaimah reported 1.24 million guest nights in 2013 and this year it will increase further due to new openings of more hospitality projects in the emirate.
“during november 2013 ras al khaimah attracted over 172000 visitors which represents more than a 54 per cent increase in visitor numbers compared to november 2012” he said.
“since the rak tda was established in may 2011 one of our main goals has been to increase the total number of annual visitors” he added.
to a question regarding impact of air arabia operations from ras al khaima he said the airline will be flying to and from destinations such as cairo jeddah and muscat which will give greater incentives for tourists to visit the emirate.
“being the fourth hub of the airline it will provide an additional means of transportation to ras al khaimah which in turn will increase footfall into the emirate” he said.
about the core markets for ras al khaimah he said the emirate has three strong source markets — the uae germany and russia which collectively account for around 70 per cent of tourists to the emirate.
“the number of total visitors to ras al khaimah from january to november 2013 the main visitor source markets to ras al khaimah were the uae germany russia uk ukraine italy czech republic sweden india switzerland and france. the visitors number grew by 49 per cent over two years.
“rak tda is currently focusing its efforts in expanding their source markets and has placed an additional focus on developing visitor numbers from our top-10 markets which include cis italy india uk as well as from other up-and-coming tourism markets such as ksa and china.
“we see important potential for development in these markets whilst we also continue to grow our presence in the uae germany and russia which are historically ras al khaimah’s key markets” he said.
about the initiatives to promote tourism in the emirate he said ras al khaimah tda will continue to build on ras al khaimah’s tourism infrastructure both by encouraging international investments and by developing local talent and business opportunities.
“our activities span hospitality training programmes coordination of the joint initiatives with key travel industry players representing the emirate at trade shows and developing compelling marketing and investor collateral.
“we have attended trade shows in saudi arabia germany and uk this year and has recently hosted a major media trip from cis countries to ras al khaimah. in april 2014 we have appointed general services agent in italy china and india to promote the destination within emerging markets.
“ras al khaimah tourism development authority also supported the initiative of the largest russian tour operator coral travel to launch new charter flights from moscow in terms of maintaining the constantly growing traffic from russia.” at atm he said rak tda is showcasing the latest openings in marjan island. the development consists of a cluster of five coral-shaped islands extending over 2.7 million square metres.
“the government of ras al khaimah will also be discussing their future plans and opportunities for investment to further enhance the tourism infrastructure for the emirate starting with their 500 million investment in tourism development projects” he said.
“ras al khaimah is fast establishing itself internationally as a premier global affordable luxury destination from its year round pleasant climate stunning landscapes to its vast outdoor adventure offerings. the emirate has all the elements for the ideal getaway.”