With the United Arab Emirates moving to the UK's Amber list from Sunday August 8, British travellers will finally be able to return to one of their favourite holiday destinations. The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has been working hard to ensure it is fully prepared to meet the emerging challenges and demands of the new normal.
The city is the first in the world to receive the 'Safeguard Assurance'
label from Bureau Veritas; the first to gain the World Travel and Tourism
Council's Safe Travels stamp; the first to offer free return PCR tests to
inbound travellers which continues to this day and is a regional leader in
adventure and outdoor activities, along with sustainable tourism initiatives.
"The UK is one of our top source markets, so we are delighted that the
UAE is now on its Amber list," said Raki Phillips, CEO of the Ras Al
Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). "Speaking to travellers
from our key markets, we have gleaned insights into travel preferences in the
new normal. Our guests want space, fresh air and the confidence that they are
safe, as they take full advantage of Ras Al Khaimah's many great outdoor
attractions from beaches to mountains; culture to adventure and much
Ras Al Khaimah is bucking post-pandemic tourism trends with exceptional
growth and a £96-million investment in its industry. According to Phillips, the
25% drop in the Emirate's tourism figures were around three times less severe
than the global average at the peak of the pandemic and in July 2021 Ras Al
Khaimah set a new record for visitor numbers. The destination is now embarking
on a major journey to further develop its tourism offering by investing
millions in sustainable tourism projects.
These include expanding the nature and adventure sports portfolios; building
environmentally-friendly mountain accommodation; the construction of an
eco-golf course and a scallop farm at which guests will be encouraged to dive
for their dinner.
The Emirate is offering UK families the chance to visit this summer with a
special 'WANASA' summer campaign running until September. This includes
discounts at 3*, 4* and 5* hotels for a stay of 3+ nights, with children under
12 going free.
Phillips has lofty goals for tourism in Ras Al Khaimah, the current Gulf
Tourism Capital for 2021, as he intends to bring in over 3 million visitors a
year by 2030.
In partnership with Arton Capital, a leading government advisory company,
RAKTDA launched 'SelectRAK' – an attractive, seamless 'one stop shop' foreign
investment programme appealing to a variety of investors from real estate to
entrepreneurs and retirees.
Its aim is to accelerate affordable luxury as a key benefit, bolster the
local economy and attract international talent and experience in the sector.
The initiative will help build all core economic sectors, including healthcare,
hospitality, education, trade, and retail, in turn, creating new jobs and
supporting domestic enterprises.
Ras Al Khaimah has also been working with EarthCheck, the global
environmental experts, to create destination wide sustainable practices,
including carbon off-set, a decrease in energy and water consumption across all
hotels and attractions, and tourist site clean-ups as well as cultural
preservation, community outreach and scholarship programs for local colleges
The Emirate's goal of welcoming 3 million visitors a year by 2030 is clearly
evident, not just by recent airline partnerships welcoming charter and
commercial flights from Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia directly into Ras Al
Khaimah, but also with plans to increase hotel room inventory by 70% over the
next few years, with global brands including Movenpick, InterContinental,
Anantara, Radisson and more. Two billion people live within a four-hour flight
of the UAE and Ras Al Khaimah: proximity, airlift and connectivity as well as
the uniqueness of the destination will continue to position the Emirate as a
preferred tourism destination.