Ras Al Khaimah, the United Arab Emirates’ fourth largest Emirate, has announced a total investment of over £96 million in its tourism sector, resulting in over 20 exciting sustainable tourism development initiatives as part of its aim to attract 1.5 million visitors by the end of 2021 and 3 million by 2025.
The latest announcement comes on the back of the Emirate’s previous efforts as the region to introduce a Tourism Incentive & Stimulus Package in April 2020 followed by an Emirate wide certification as the first safe destination worldwide from Bureau Veritas and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Further underlining its credentials as a destination of distinction, in the new normal of post-pandemic travel, the new developments include a pop-up hotel concept offering cliffside accommodation on the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais; a luxury mountain lodge opening in 2022 and the Bear Grylls Survival Academy, teaching the skills necessary to enjoy the mountains and desert in safety. The projects centre on Ras Al Khaimah’s new destination strategy that focuses on nature, leisure, adventure, sustainability, accessibility and authenticity in the post-pandemic age.
With the desire for social distance, tourists are no longer attracted to bustling cities and crowded beaches, seeking instead personal space and a closer connection to nature. This change in direction will allow the spotlight to shine on Ras Al Khaimah, enabling it to step out from the shadow of its well-known neighbours, offering world-class hotels and infrastructure in a wild and unspoiled landscape of desert, beach and mountains.
Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), said: “It’s been an incredibly busy and proactive time at RAKTDA as the Emirate evolves into a global destination of distinction. This multi-million investment plan further demonstrates our resolve and commitment to tourism, despite the global challenges faced this past year that continue to shake our industry today. These projects also align with our vision and strategy moving forward with our new brand identity, based on the destination’s natural topography – the sea, desert and of course, our spectacular mountains – as well as our desire to progress, grow and evolve in tune with tourism aspirations and needs.”
The Emirate, currently the Gulf Tourism Capital for 2021, is the first destination in the world to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travels certification, and since October has been offering free Covid PCR tests to inbound travellers, the first in the world to do this. Efforts such as these, with costs absorbed by the tourism board rather than passed on to visitors, has resulted in Ras Al Khaimah being classed as Covid-safe, including all 46 of its hotels and the world’s longest zipline on Jebel Jais mountain peak.
As part of the destination’s objective to boost sustainable tourism, Ras As Al Khaimah has also been working with EarthCheck , the global environmental experts, to co -create genuine sustainable practices including reduced food wastage, increase recycling, decrease in energy and water consumption across all hotels, tourist sites area clean -ups, green procurement and more. Additionally, looking at hotel inventory across the Emirate, an addition of 4,718 rooms is in the pipeline: a marked 70% increase to existing inventory of 6,726.
Alison Grinnell, CEO of RAK Hospitality Holding shared: “As we navigate through the new normal, we are witnessing a reimagined travel and hospitality sector. Our ability to build sustainably, especially on Jebel Jais with a number of hospitality offerings including Earth Hotels and Mantis Collection with eco-principled luxury lodges as well as accessible attractions will only enhance Ras Al Khaimah as a leading tourism destination moving forward. Moreover, our large-scale hotel developments, in particular on Marjan Island with the Movenpick brand is a genuine step towards renewed confidence in our industry.”
The new initiatives include over 20 projects across the destination, including Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak and an attraction that draws visitors from around the world.
In addition to announcing new projects, significant progress has been made in the development of several tourism attractions:
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