One of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations, Ras Al Khaimah boasts a rich culture and long-standing history dating back 7,000 years. The Emirate has an array of archaeological sites and breath-taking natural vistas, from golden sand beaches, awe-inspiring terracotta dunes and a green belt of date palms to Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) chose Ras Al Khaimah as their annual convention destination for 2017.
Around 170 travel partners from India participated in the event, which took place at the Hilton Al Hamra Convention Centre, Ras Al Khaimah. OTOAI is a national, not-for-profit organisation comprising India’s outbound tour operators and travel agents as its members. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Guldeep Singh Sahni, president of OTOAI, during the press conference held this year in New Delhi.
Mattar commented, “India is currently our fourth largest international source market with year-on-year growth of 22 pc in the first half of 2017. It will be an important contributor to our vision and ‘Destination 2019’ tourism strategy. We have seen a growing trend from Indian inbound tourism for short leisure stays, MICE, and weddings. Our aim is to promote the full breadth of unique activities and events that can be enjoyed in the emirate, with a view to encourage Indian travellers to lengthen their stay in the destination. We are optimistic that through focused efforts and participation in various MICE and trade events, tourism from India will continue to develop in the coming years.”
The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is still largely unexplored by the Indian outbound market, and the potential for growth is attractive to the travel industry.
Speaking on the successful conclusion of the event, Sahni said, “The theme of the convention was ‘Changing times – creating opportunities’ and we did line up all the sessions to fulfill the same. RAKTDA has put their best foot forward to showcase the products to our members. We can’t thank them enough for the arrangements they have done to give everyone a firsthand experience from the destination.”
OTOAI’s annual conference provides the opportunity for travel partners to meet potential sellers from a wide range of Ras Al Khaimah hotels and destination management companies who took part in the prestigious event.
In order to achieve target growth of one million visitors by the end of 2018, RAKTDA aims to develop the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the RAKTDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.