RAK tourism to carve out a niche

The recently formed RAK Tourism Promotion Board has revealed ambitious plans to carve out a niche in MICE-, sports- and eco-tourism and to promote these attributes internationally.

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By  Gemma Hornett Published  September 3, 2006

The recently formed RAK Tourism Promotion Board has revealed ambitious plans to carve out a niche in MICE-, sports- and eco-tourism and to promote these attributes internationally. The new government agency, which was established in July, will also oversee a number of tourism developments that are currently on the drawing board, which include a media city, convention and exhibition centre, reclaimed island, several real estate developments, a mountain resort and additional golf courses. “Ras Al Khaimah should have 20 hotels in five years time and in 10 years time probably 30-40 hotels, all at 350-plus rooms, and we hope to have made enough promotion to fill these hotels,” said Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO, RAK Investment Authority, the government department overseeing the tourism board. “We will go wherever it’s possible to present Ras Al Khaimah, including WTM, ITB, ATM and many other fairs .” Major tourism developments in the emirate include the Mina Arab beachfront development by RAK Properties, which will include nine five-star hotels; the Al Hamra Palace hotel, which Dr. Massaad claimed would be “an Arabian Palace” to rival Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi; the Jebel Jais mountain resort, which will feature a ski slope and winter sports; and a 50,000m² convention centre. “If you don’t attract the MICE market then you will never have people coming. You have to create the market,” Dr. Massaad remarked. How to transport visitors to Ras Al Khaimah is also on the agenda, with network airline RAK Airways set to take to the skies in January. “We have selected a very good management team from the aviation business and we think they will do a good job. RAK Airways will develop the airport; enhancing facilities for duty free and other services,” Dr. Massaad said. The airline will primarily serve the Indian Subcontinent, he added.

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