Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, officially opened the inaugural edition of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Middle East & North Africa Leaders Forum 2019 today, that took place at Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Center in Ras Al Khaimah.
The one-day event featured a keynote speech from HH Sheikh Saud, who highlighted Tourism’s pivotal role in the sustainable development and growth of the Emirate’s economy. “We want to create an emirate that is thriving sustainably, both economically and socially, for the benefit not just of all those who live here, but for the entire UAE. In order to create sustainable development here in Ras Al Khaimah, we have been busy trying to build one of the most diverse economies in the region.
“Currently, no single sector of Ras Al Khaimah’s economy makes up more than 30% of GDP. And in terms of tourism, we’ve witnessed huge growth – tripling our visitor numbers from under 400,000 to over 1 million in just 7 years,” said Sheikh Saud.
Raki Philips, the Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Development Authority, who delivered the welcome address to the audience, said, “We are grateful to the World Travel & Tourism Council for the opportunity to host the first Middle East & North Africa Leaders Forum at Ras Al Khaimah. This forum is a proud moment for Ras Al Khaimah as it continues to be the fastest growing destinations in the region.
“Tourism is one of the key drivers of Ras Al Khaimah’s continued growth in GDP and employment. Guided by our Destination Strategy 2019-2021, we remain focused on diversifying the Emirate’s tourism offering; attracting foreign and local investment within the tourism sector; nurturing home-grown small and medium enterprises to create further employment and business opportunities for Emiratis whilst prioritizing sustainable nature-based adventure and authentic cultural experiences.”
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council said, “Around 200 delegates from 45 countries have participated in our first ever Middle East North Africa Forum. This region is one of enormous potential, with a wide variety of cultural, leisure and business destinations, a central location in the world and governments which not only recognise the importance of Travel & Tourism but are also taking action to support it. The United Arab Emirates is one of the leading tourism economies in the region and in 2018, Travel & Tourism in the UAE grew four times faster than the region as a whole. Ras Al Khaimah is the embodiment of this opportunity and it has been an honour to share the story and ambitions of the Emirate with our global audience.”
Held in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, the forum brought together government agencies, industry associations, CEOs and senior leaders of the top travel and tourism companies, experts, and media from across the region, in an effort to explore contemporary issues facing the sector and discuss growth opportunities to advance the regional agenda.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the body which represents the Travel & Tourism private sector globally. Members include over 170 CEOs, Chairs and Presidents of the world’s leading Travel & Tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries. WTTC works to promote Travel & Tourism as one of the world's largest economic sectors, supporting one in 10 jobs (319 million) worldwide and generating 10.4% (US$8.8 trillion) of world GDP in 2018.
About Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is the northernmost of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is known for its rich history, dating back 7,000 years, and diverse landscape, from 64km of pristine beaches, to terracotta deserts and an imposing mountain backdrop. The Emirate is home to the highest peak in the UAE, Jebel Jais, which features the world’s longest zip line, at almost 3km.
RAK is also centrally located at the modern crossroad between Europe and Asia, with one third of the world’s population within four hour’s flying time, making it an ideal location for businesses to expand into the UAE, the Middle East and Africa and beyond.
At the Emirate's economic heart lies several major companies and sectors - industrial (including RAK Rock and Stevin Rock’s quarries, RAK Ceramics and Julphar Pharmaceuticals); RAK Ports; RAK Economic Zone; banking via RAKBANK; RAK Gas and tourism. Supporting these industries is a modern infrastructure, state-of-the-art industrial areas and business parks and world-class hotels, facilities and attractions for tourists.
For the past decade, Ras Al Khaimah has been consistently rated ‘A’ by Fitch and Standard & Poor’s rating agencies and already the Emirate is home to more than 15,000 businesses from 100 countries representing over 50 industries. RAK Courts is also the second-fastest court in the world at enforcing contracts in commercial disputes.
To learn more about Ras Al Khaimah, visit us at:
About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA)
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to attract 1.5 million visitors by 2021, and 3 million visitors by 2025, the Ras Al Khaimah TDA 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 Ras Al Khaimah TDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the Emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.
For further information, please contact:
Asda’a Burson Cohn & Wolfe
+971 (4) 4507600
Public Relations Manager, RAKTDA
+971 (0)7 204 4063
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the body which represents the Travel & Tourism private sector globally. The Members include over 170 CEOs, Chairmans and Presidents of the world’s leading Travel & Tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries. WTTC works to raise awareness of Travel & Tourism as one of the world's largest economic sectors, supporting one in 10 jobs (319 million) worldwide and generating 10.4% (US$8.8 trillion) of world GDP in 2018. WTTC conducts research on the Economic Impact of Travel & Tourism in 185 countries for nearly 30 years. In 2018, the Travel & Tourism industry experienced 3.9% growth, compared to the global economy (3.2%). One in five new jobs were created by the industry over the last five years and is why WTTC is the best partner for governments to create jobs. Their priorities are: Security & Travel Facilitation, Crisis Preparedness, Management & Recovery, and Sustainable Growth.
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