Northern UAE Emirate Ras Al Khaimah plans major investments in tourism
Dubai, Middle East’s leading financial and tourism hub which has been struggling due to the impact the international financial crisis is now facing increased competition from within the UAE not only from the oil rich Abu Dhabi but also from the Northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
The newly-formed Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Investment and Development Authority (RAK TIDA), has announced a new tourism strategy which aims to double visitor numbers to the emirate in the next two years.
Victor Louis, chief operating officer, RAK TIDA, which was established just five month ago – said the government of Ras al Khaimah had earmarked US $163.4 million for investment into tourism development projects between now and 2012, and had a target to boost tourism numbers from 600,00 visitors in 2010, to 1.2 million by 2013. The new tourism strategy involves development of new hotels, resorts and villas, which will result in a total inventory of 10,000 hotel rooms in RAK by the year 2016.
A number of major tourism development projects are currently underway in RAK. In May this year the Government of Ras Al Khaimah signed an agreement with Rakeen Development, completing the acquisition of the Banyan Tree Al Wadi, where the Authority is currently overlooking the master plan for the resort’s expansion and upgrade. Additionally the 600-room Marjan Island family resort being developed on five man-made islands off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah is scheduled to open by October 2012.
Scheduled openings in Ras Al Khaimah include the Ras Al Khaimah Waldorf Astoria, in October 2012 and the Al Hamra Fort Hotel & Beach Resort, scheduled to open as a Hilton Hotels & Resorts branded property in 2013; as well as a ‘Pearl Farm and Pearl Museum’ early next year.