Ras Al Khaimah has begun to see a recovery in the hospitality sector following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Raki Phillips, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, the market is currently undergoing a cautious return to operation.
Speaking during the Bench Events-organised Hospitality Tomorrow show, he added: “Hopefully by the summer, travel in the most northerly of the United Arab Emirates could be back to normal to some degree.”
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority moved quickly to overcome the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, launching a range of support initiatives to its hospitality, leisure and development partners.
The move was designed to lay strong foundations for a future recovery.
The tourism authority sent all business partners and stakeholders a comprehensive contingency plan, which mapped out short- to mid-term solutions to mitigate the negative impact of coronavirus on travel to Ras Al Khaimah.
The UNWTO estimates losses from international visitor spends to be between USD $30-50 billion globally, while the World Travel & Tourism Council have found up to 50 million jobs have been put at risk.
Officials in Ras Al Khaimah thus created an internal stimulus committee and steering stimulus committee.
Philips explained: “We created a stimulus package that we launched in the first week of April, to help those businesses that are struggling to survive.
“This has helped a lot of the businesses in our industry to continue.”
Looking ahead, Ras Al Khaimah will focus on domestic tourism as it seeks to rebuild.
“We are now focusing on domestic travel, what we are calling ‘short-cations’ – trying to attract people from across the United Arab Emirates to our natural, adventure assets.
“We will launch a new campaign to promote this when the time is right,” Philips added.
Last year the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority welcomed 1.2 million visitors to the emirate, with 40 per cent coming from elsewhere within the country.
“We are well-placed to recover,” concluded Philips, “we were hoping to get to three million guests bu 2025, so quite aggressive growth.”
Powered by Bench Events, Hospitality Tomorrow was launched to support the hard-hit international hotel community during Covid-19, by offering a virtual conference platform that provides knowledge, facilitates information sharing and connects the industry.