Ras Al Khaimah has long been one of the lesser talked about jewels of the United Arab Emirates. Also known simply as RAK, Ras Al Khaimah is nestled in the northernmost regions of the UAE where RAK earns its English translation as ‘top of the tent’. Bordering Oman and looking out over the Arabian Sea, Ras Al Khaimah is brimming with glorious natural views, luxurious resorts, and spas, as well as all the history that one could seek to consume and this is not by accident!
Ras Al Khaimah has been led by HH Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi toward a revamping and rejuvenation of the tourism and manufacturing sectors. As one of the few members of the UAE beholden to tourism, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made quite the impact. With that being said, the emirate has looked to the future as well as a European push to boost its tourism sector when the nation opens back up.
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has been emboldened by leadership within the emirate to best pursue furthering relationships in Europe as well as Germany. Most recently, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority announced that it was seeking to establish a multi-city event throughout the U.K. and Germany while involving more than 370 tour operators and agents. The goal of the event was to attract an additional 1.5 million visitors to the country throughout 2021, a goal that might be put to the test as COVID-19 continues to fight back against the world’s leading epidemiologists.
Haitham Mattar is the CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and it has been through Haitham that most public statements regarding the project have been made. Haitham stated that he believes Ras Al Khaimah has “a great appeal to holidaymakers” throughout Europe. The RAKTDA CEO made sure to underscore some of the most important selling points of Ras Al Khaimah, carefully highlighting luxurious beaches and resorts, authentic Arabian culture and hospitality, as well as all the historical and adventurous outdoor pursuits that travelers could aspire to enjoy.
Life After COVID-19 in Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah is one of the few emirates beholden entirely to sectors outside of the oil industry. This is made all the more obvious when comparing population numbers. Ras Al Khaimah has a population exceeding 191,752 people per a report published in 2020. Of that number, only 30% of the population is made up of local Emirati citizens. So tourism is clearly an important factor as is foreign investments. So how does RAK rebound with COVID-19 still in our rearview mirrors?
Unfortunately for the citizens of Ras Al Khaimah, it appears that there is still some fight left in the game for COVID-19. Recent announcements have been made by the government of Ras Al Khaimah to better promote curbing the spread of coronavirus throughout the Emirate. RAK’s emergency and crisis management team released modified COVID-19 rules at the beginning of February to quickly curb the capacity numbers of public facilities such as gyms, cinemas, entertainment venues, beaches, and dining.
While Ras Al Khaimah has done a great job in some areas of handling the coronavirus, there has still been an increased focus on public accountability. The RAK Emergency, Crisis & Disaster team made several public statements underscoring the importance of taking community measures from a precautionary sense, including masking and maintaining a two-meter distance at all times from strangers in public.
When COVID-19 protective measures begin to take hold and the virus has more time to properly get controlled, RAK aims to have its tourism sector ready to rock almost right away. Emirati leadership has been focused on retaining public sector momentum for major tourism developments. Ras Al Khaimah is eager to harness the positive energy that the region had exhibited before the onset of COVID-19 and the corresponding global shutdown that has taken root.
With a vaccine on the horizon and more information pumped out regarding COVID-19 prevention, it seems only a matter of time until Ras Al Khaimah is back to hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year. In 2019 alone, Ras Al Khaimah saw a 4% jump in visitors from foreign nations, hitting more than 1.12 million individual travelers.