With the United Arab Emirates moving to the UK’s Amber list as of August 8, the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has been working hard to ensure it is fully prepared to meet the challenges and demands of the new normal.
According to a tourism official from the emirate, the city is the first in the world to receive the ‘Safeguard Assurance’ label from Bureau Veritas; the first to gain the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp; the first to offer free return PCR tests to inbound travellers which continues to this day and is a regional leader in adventure and outdoor activities, along with sustainable tourism initiatives.
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) CEO Raki Phillips said: “The UK is one of our top source markets, so we are delighted that the UAE is now on its Amber list.
“Speaking to travellers from our key markets, we have gleaned insights into travel preferences in the new normal.
“Our guests want space, fresh air and the confidence that they are safe, as they take full advantage of Ras Al Khaimah’s many outdoor attractions from beaches to mountains; culture to adventure and much more.”
Ras Al Khaimah is bucking post-pandemic tourism trends with exceptional growth and a £96-million ($133 million) investment in its industry. According to Phillips, the 25 per cent drop in the emirate’s tourism figures were around three times less severe than the global average at the peak of the pandemic and in July 2021 Ras Al Khaimah set a new record for visitor numbers.
The destination is now embarking on a journey to develop its tourism offering by investing millions in sustainable tourism projects.
These include expanding the nature and adventure sports portfolios; building environmentally-friendly mountain accommodation; the construction of an eco-golf course and a scallop farm at which guests will be encouraged to dive for their dinner.
The emirate is offering UK families the chance to visit this summer with a ‘WANASA’ summer campaign running until September. This includes discounts at 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels for a stay of 3+ nights, with children under 12 going free.
Phillips has lofty goals for tourism in Ras Al Khaimah, the Gulf Tourism Capital for 2021, as he intends to bring in over three million visitors a year by 2030.