Emirate to showcase new initiatives at travel expo


RAK Tourism, the organisation tasked to support, promote and attract tourism initiatives in Ras Al Khaimah, has announced it will showcase a number of exciting new developments in the emirate's tourism sector at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2008.

The expo is the region's leading travel and tourism exhibition and is being held at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre from Tuesday. "We have achieved great success in placing Ras Al Khaimah on the global map, as shown by the emirate's robust annual growth rates in the tourism sector," said Dr Khater Massaad, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority and Advisor to the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

"The emirate is positioning itself as an authentic Arabian tourist attraction, providing visitors a unique mix of rich cultural heritage and state-of-the-art amenities, that will make their RAK adventure a truly wonderful and relaxing experience.

"RAK Tourism's participation at ATM 2008 will provide additional boost to our efforts to strengthen the emirate's reputation in the international tourism market, particularly in view of the excellent mileage the exhibition provides and the enormous networking potential it offers," added Dr Massaad.

Ras Al Khaimah has been enjoying a significant growth in the number of visitors, as 2007 statistics reveal an annual footfall of more than 500,000. Within the next four years, experts project this figure to increase by a phenomenal 400 per cent, reaching more than 2.5 million visitors annually by 2012, largely as a result of the emirate's continued heavy investments to harness its leisure, business and eco-tourism potential.

Hotels in Ras Al Khaimah have already benefited significantly from the excellent growth opportunities, collectively recording an average occupancy rate of up to 93 per cent as tourists are taking advantage of more competitive hotel rates in Ras Al Khaimah, which are approximately 40 per cent lower than in other emirates.

Moreover, several key developments are expected to further consolidate the emirate's tourism industry, including premium hotels, major golf courses and other tourism-oriented properties, that are due to be delivered in the market as early as 2009, as well as the RAK International Airport that has been undergoing a major upgrade to handle 1.2 million passengers by 2009.

"Ras Al Khaimah is emerging fast as a major tourist destination and this will be the strategic message that will be echoed during our participation at ATM 2008. The Ras Al Khaimah Government and its partners in the private sector have acted swiftly in response to the growing number of tourists, commissioning several new developments to enhance the emirate's tourism infrastructure," said Hilary McCormack of RAK Tourism.