Twenty-five luxury hotels are to be built in Ras Al Khaimah as the emirate is taking steps to improve its tourism infrastructure.
The five-star properties will be spread across the various mega-projects under way or planned for the next five years, said Dr Khater Masaad, CEO of the RAK Investment Authority (Rakia).
The government is implementing a tourism masterplan that will include building modern infrastructure, promoting heritage sites and highlighting sports and cultural events.
Tourist numbers have increased by 40 per cent over the past two years.
The new hotels will have a total capacity of 12,000 beds, Massaad told the Ras Al Khaimah Conference, an event staged jointly by the authority and the Middle East Economic Digest.
Private developers were being encouraged to participate in the growth of the tourism sector.
“The focus on tourism has produced a boom for many sectors directly or indirectly associated with the industry,” added Massaad. “The tourism sector is central to the strategy of presenting RAK as a modern and fun destination that offers the best in the industrial world with good living conditions.
“The hospitality of the RAK citizens, the high standards of hotels, the beauty and the safety are increasingly attracting tourists from all over the world.
“RAK is naturally endowed with many attractions. The beautiful silver sandy beaches, majestic Hajar Mountains, year-round sunshine and a rich history stretching back to more than 5,000 years are major factors in the growth of tourism from within and outside the country,” he said.
Tourist projects are being developed both in the mountains and on the coast.
Jebal Jais Mountain Resort, currently under construction, is half-an-hour’s drive from neighbouring emirates and is expected to become a major tourism draw.
The eight-hectare site starts at an altitude of 800m and rises to a 1,900m peak and will have a ski slope. There will be a 300-room five-star hotel, residential units ranging from lavish apartments to small palaces, a climbing centre, paragliding facilities and a traditional falconry centre.
“With the completion of this project, RAK will be the only emirate where one will be able to experience, mountain living, beautiful beaches and the desert life,” said the CEO of Rakia.
Al Hamra Village, a seaside premium real estate and tourism project, is the first freehold development to be built in Ras Al Khaimah. The Dh1 billion project will consist of more than 1,350 residential units, a marina, three hotels, an 18-hole golf course, a shopping mall, a five-kilometre jogging track and yachting and golf clubs.
Ras Al Khaimah’s new portfolio of exclusive hotels will include the super-luxury Al Hamra Palace – the first in the UAE to allow freehold ownership.
Half the accommodation will be sold on a 100 per cent freehold basis, said Ainagul Mukhaibek of Al Hamra Real Estate Development Company. Buyers will receive a certificate of ownership from RAK’s land department.
The hotel, with three royal and 20 executive suites, is being built as part of Al Hamra Village and has been designed in an Arabic style by top Italian architect Maurizio Papiri. There will be 160 hotel apartments, shopping arcades and lifestyle facilities.
Mukhaibek said 60 per cent of the suites and apartments allotted for sale had been snapped up at prices ranging from Dh2,500 to Dh3,000 per square foot. Half the buyers were from Europeans and the rest were Arabs and Asians. Eight to 10 per cent were UAE Nationals.
“The hotel was promoted in countries such as Germany and has captured the interest of Europeans and Scandinavians,” said Mukhaibek.
“The project’s golf course and the yacht marina were additional attractions.”
RAK to get five-star boost