The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAK TDA) feels that ITB Berlin 2016 will be an excellent opportunity to join forces with the international travel trade in order to showcase Ras Al Khaimah’s global appeal and steadily diversify the visitor demographic to the emirate.
The idea is to profit from the presence of the global travel trade at ITB Berlin to create visibility for Ras Al Khaimah’s development plans and new tourism offerings, says Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAK TDA.On the other hand, the aim is to strengthen existing strategic partnerships with leading industry stakeholders and to create new ones to join the emirate in the execution of these strategies, says Mattar, who will be on his maiden visit to ITB Berlin. 'Tourism is a key pillar of Ras Al Khaimah’s growth and development both as an emirate and as a tourist destination. Strategic partnerships between Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and both national and international suppliers are a pre-requisite for Ras Al Khaimah to maintain and enhance its position as the fastest growing emirate in terms of tourism development,' he says.
At ITB Berlin 2016, RAK TDA plans to present – for the first time - its new brand including a complete overhaul of logo and website as well as state-of-the-art product and marketing strategies. The brand announcement will not only encompass a remodelling of the corporate identity, but will also lay out plans to further enhance and improve the tourism infrastructure in order to create investment opportunities for national and international tourism stakeholders, he says. RAK TDA’s 'Vision for 2018' lies at the heart of the emirate’s business expansion activities. The key objective is to attract one million visitors to the emirate by the end of 2018. The 2018 Vision provides further leverage for the tourism sector, encouraging growth and diversification across the accommodation portfolio, tourism offering for both business and leisure travellers, the events sector and infrastructure as well as the investment into destination marketing campaigns. The marketing approach will showcase Ras Al Khaimah to a wider audience, placing the destination on the world tourism stage and positioning the emirate as a top choice for international and regional travellers. The focus of the business expansion activities in both the private and public sector will be on key objectives such as maintaining and/or growing market share in existing source markets, further diversifying markets and increasing visitors from markets that have been identified as having high growth potential, diversifying product offering with a focus on culture and heritage, Mice and business tourism in addition to the key offering as a beach destination. RAK TDA achieved a 12.4 per cent increase in total revenue in 2015 compared to 2014. This rise in total tourism revenues was driven by a six per cent increase in visitor numbers year-on-year to reach 740,383 in 2015. Recognised as one of the most rapidly developing tourism sectors in the UAE, reports demonstrate positive performance across key indicators including room revenues, F&B revenues, RevPAR and occupancy rates, he says. Year-on-year, the UAE inbound market has shown signs of continued sustainable growth, with domestic tourism accounting for 47.7 per cent of total visitor numbers to Ras Al Khaimah. The UK and India emerged as the fastest growing international source markets as visitor numbers increased by 24.7 per cent and 80 per cent respectively. Despite currency fluctuations, Germany ended the year with an overall increase of 1.6 per cent YOY in visitor numbers in 2015, compared to 2014. Germany is a very important international source market and represents 21 per cent of our overall international visitors.Tourism numbers and financial results demonstrate that current market conditions are favourable for Ras Al Khaimah, he says. This is further supported by the steady growth which the emirate has experienced over the past few years and indicates that Ras Al Khaimah is firmly on track to achieving the vision of one million visitors by the end of 2018, he adds. 'It is inevitable that changes in the market both in the Middle East and across different regions will have an impact on the wider tourism industry but we are in a strong position. The emirate benefits from attracting visitors from a wide range of source markets across the globe. As such, we are able to weather any changes in the market and decreases from a particular country or region are most often balanced by increases from other countries,' he concludes. By K S Sreekumar