By Andy Sambidge
Move comes as part of Ras Al Khaimah efforts to quadruple tourist numbers in next 10 years
The government of Ras Al Khaimah has inked a deal to take over the luxury Banyan Tree Al Wadi desert resort as part of its plans to quadruple tourist numbers by 2021.
According to the agreement, Rakeen Development will hand over ownership of Banyan Tree Al Wadi to the government of Ras Al Khaimah.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, said in a statement: “We believe that Banyan Tree Al Wadi will outgrow its potential, achieve new heights and grow to become the beacon of top-class quality service in this region.
“We aim to create an impact as a strategic player and increase our portfolio with a goal to attract world-class hotel corporations and investors to the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah that is with our robust economic growth and strong tourism expansion plan in the next few years.”
The acquisition of Banyan Tree Al Wadi is part of the emirate’s 10-year ambitious growth plan, which aims to quadruple its visitor count.
The emirate, from which GDP comprises 1.5 percent of the UAE’s economy, is aiming to grow tourism revenues to account for 20 percent of its income by 2021 — by positioning itself as a lower-cost destination to neighbouring Dubai.
Victor Louis, chief operating officer of Ras Al Khaimah Hotels and Tourism Development Authority, said: “We are very proud to have Banyan Tree RAK join the government’s portfolio. This is a really unique property that offers the highest standards of excellence to sophisticated clientele.
“As a boutique hotel it forms a part of a growing, high value added sector of the travel industry in which we intend to further expand our investments.”
Banyan Tree Al Wadi was officially launched on April 17, 2010, in the Wadi Khadeja area of RAK, set among 100 hectares of private nature reserve.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.