From Desert To Paradise, Ras Al Khaimah Has Become The New Dubai
Travelers, having experienced the high standards set by Dubai, are on the lookout for new Middle Eastern destinations that bring together both business and leisure. Ras Al Khaimah emerges as a rapidly growing Emirate, presenting itself as an attractive, cost-effective alternative to Dubai. Located just 45 minutes away from Dubai’s International Airport, Ras Al Khaimah boasts luxury shopping centers, breathtaking sceneries, and historical sites, catering to diverse traveler preferences. Let’s delve into the factors fueling Ras Al Khaimah’s metamorphosis and the rising prominence of its tourism.
The Tourism Development Authority
In 2011, the Ras Al Khaimah government founded the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Development Authority (TDA) to support the tourism sector in reaching a goal of 1.5 million visitors by 2021. With an ambitious objective, Ras Al Khaimah aims to draw over 3 million tourists by 2025. TDA’s role is pivotal in licensing, regulating, and overseeing the Emirate’s tourism and hospitality sectors. Its promotional efforts are guided by a strategic approach that includes:
- Current trends and necessary tourism projects are researched and analyzed.
- Educating travel professionals on Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism attractions through workshops, roadshows, and other means.
- Using branding and marketing to promote investment prospects.
- Managing consumer and media marketing and promotions.
- Hosting cultural and athletic events.
- Representing Ras Al Khaimah at international tourism trade exhibitions.
Investments by the Government
The administration of Ras Al Khaimah is investing in several infrastructure projects and changing specific policies to create an enticing environment for direct foreign investment. The emirate hopes to attract industrialists, hospitality service providers, and adventurers. In keeping with these goals, the government is planning to open the UAE’s first casino in order to boost regional tourism.
While the Gulf has historically opposed gambling for cultural and religious grounds, it seems that these conservative attitudes are now shifting. Many Middle Eastern players already frequently play online casinos such as Casinoelarabs. Online casinos allow players to play casino games without the cultural or social stigma often associated with gambling in the region.
The Impact of Direct Foreign Investment
While the government’s vision faces challenges due to uneven development across many parts of Ras Al Khaimah, progress is evident. International hotel chains, including Radisson and Movenpick, have established themselves in Ras Al Khaimah, raising the available rooms to 8,000. Currently, 19 more projects are in the pipeline, backed by renowned brands like Westin and Nobu. The region boasts a diverse array of tourist attractions, from picturesque mountain vistas and pristine beaches to its rich ceramic heritage.
In a bid to attract high-end tourists, the government is positioning Ras Al Khaimah as a hub for superyacht storage and boat manufacturing. A Polish luxury catamaran manufacturer has shown interest in a €30 million investment in the emirate. Furthermore, RAK is laying the groundwork for a new free zone tailored for digital and virtual asset businesses to bolster investment opportunities.
Factors Promoting Ras Al KhaimahTourism
Ras Al Khaimah offers goods and services of a quality comparable to Dubai but at a more affordable price. The city is set to experience a boost in tourism come November when Qatar Airways initiates flights there, as both destinations appeal to tourists with similar interests. Accommodations in Ras Al Khaimah range from beachfront hotels to those situated atop the Jebel Jais mountain. Tourists flock to the area for activities such as cycling, hiking, ziplining, and scenic trips up to the Jebel Jais Peak. The Al Jazeera Al Hamra village, the Middle East’s sole preserved pearling village, is a must-visit. It hosts the annual Fine Arts Festival and boasts attractions like watchtowers, a fort, a mosque, a market, and traditional courtyard homes. While there, visitors can indulge in authentic souk cuisine. For a deeper dive into the region’s history, one can embark on a boat tour to the Suwaidi Pearl Farm to discover traditions like pearl-freediving and enjoy sightings of mangroves, flamingos, and camels.
As Dubai’s tourism industry booms, devoted travelers are searching for nearby destinations that offer excellent value for their money, and Ras Al Khaimah is at the top of the list. While Dubai is the second largest emirate and the UAE’s major financial and commercial center, Ras Al Khaimah is rapidly narrowing the gap. While many refer to Ras Al Khaimah as the “Las Vegas of the Gulf,” it is a diversified tourist destination that cannot be defined by a single factor. These initiatives are intended to provide a high return on investment through financial, social, or cultural benefits.