Stars of 2018
Sat 22 Dec 2018 10:25 PM
Haitham Mattar

Industry: Tourism and hospitality

Company: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)

Designation: CEO

Haitham Mattar was appointed CEO of RAKTDA in May 2015 to drive the economic growth of Ras Al Khaimah by positioning the emirate as a world-class destination for sustainable tourism across the globe.

With more than 25 years of experience in global destination and hospitality management and marketing, Mattar has held senior roles with leading global brands including Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and most recently Hilton Worldwide.

As senior vice president of sales and marketing for Hilton Worldwide, he was managing a 240-plus strong team across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Russia, and was responsible for 126 trading properties with a further 100 in the pipeline, sharpening his aptitude in hospitality, travel and tourism.

Mattar’s cross-continent experience and valuable global insights have allowed him to effectively lead Ras Al Khaimah’s destination growth strategy, through capturing existing and emerging source market movements and global tourism trends. Under Mattar’s leadership, the Destination 2019 tourism strategy was launched to diversify the emirate’s tourism offerings. As a result, it is achieving continued growth in visitor numbers and netting a growing share of the global outbound tourism market.

As our tourism offering evolves in Ras Al Khaimah, we must ensure our destination is attractive to travellers who wish to explore beyond the resorts and hotels

In 2017, Mattar was elected as vice chair of the UNWTO Board of Affiliate Members as well as being appointed as a member of the steering committee for the UNWTO 2017 International Year for Sustainable Development in Tourism. He was also named as the ‘Tourism Promotion CEO of the Year’ at the UK’s influential Global CEO Excellence Awards.

Mattar has also been named a full-time advisory board member of the Global Thinkers Forum (GTF), an international platform that brings together a diverse network of thought leaders to share their vision for the future, create meaningful conversations around them and effect positive change in the world. 

A Lebanese-born American citizen and Arabic speaker, Mattar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida, USA, as well as an MBA in Marketing from the University of Liverpool.