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Thu 2 May 2019 01:54 PM

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Ras Al Khaimah needs more hotel rooms, says RAKDA CEO

Ras Al Khaimah's 3-year strategy - launched earlier this year - aims to attract 1.5 million tourists to the emirate by 2021

Ras Al Khaimah needs more hotel rooms, says RAKDA CEO

Ras Al Khaimah needs more hotels to cope with a growing demand for

The CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Development Authority, said demand for rooms is growing at a faster pace than supply.

“Where we are still behind is the supply. We need more rooms. It is a good problem to have sometimes because the growth of supply is at 3%. So we have 10% demand and 3% supply,” said Haitham Mattar.

There are a number of projects in the pipeline, but “it is just going to take a little bit longer than we would like,” Mattar added.

Major regional and global brands have signed deals with RAKTDA, including Emaar for an Address hotel and two Rove hotels. In addition, Mövenpick, Intercontinental, Anantara, Marriott, Millennium, Conrad as well as the first Hampton by Hilton are due to start operations in Ras Al Khaimah.

GDP contribution

Ras Al Khaimah’s 3-year strategy - launched earlier this year - aims to attract 1.5 million tourists to the emirate by 2021.

Currently, RAK’s tourism contributes 5% to the overall GDP, but its target is to reach 10% by the end of 2025. RAK saw a 20% growth in total revenues in 2018 (compared with 2017), and 10% growth in the number of visitors.

“The strategy was relaunched in 2019 in January that goes on to 2021 with specific targets to grow the number of tourists,” Mattar said.

“We aim to reach 1.5 million tourists by 2021. We also have in the pipeline 6,500 rooms that will open between now and 2021.

“We have a fantastic product that will open at the end of 2020 which is a first-of-its-kind luxury camp. This is 47 villas with private pools and events and activities that are all outdoors. So you'll have a challenging adventure park on site, on-site farm, outdoor gym and a lot more,” he revealed.

Upcoming projects

Adventure tourism is a key pillar of its tourism strategy and Ras Al Khaimah will be tying up with international brands to make the emirate an attractive destination for adventure tourists.

One such partnership was announced at the Arabian Travel Market when RAKTDA entered into an agreement with Bear Grylls Survival Academy (BGSA) to operate an academy on Jebel Jais, which will be opened in the third quarter of this year.

Currently, there is a good balance between foreign and local investment into Ras AL Khaimah, according to Mattar.

“It is about 50-50 right now. Some of the foreign investment is coming from Eastern European countries such as Czech Republic, who invested in buying land and building a hotel. We also have a British and Irish investors who also bought land and will be building hotels on the island. But we also have local investors from the UAE and Ras Al Khaimah,” he said.

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