WTTC Forum attracts C-level delegates from MENA and the World

Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates: His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, today delivered the keynote speech to open the inaugural World Travel & Tourism Council Middle East & North Africa Leaders Forum 2019, held in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority at Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Center.

Sheikh Saud confirmed in his speech at the event, which attracted hundreds of C-level tourism and travel industry delegates from around the region and the world, that Ras Al Khaimah has had a unique journey, from communities of pearl fishermen, traders and mountain tribes to the prosperous, growing Emirate we see today.

The Ras Al Khaimah Ruler also pointed to a bright future for Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE as a whole, as he detailed the constant pursuit of improvement fueling ongoing development.

Sheikh Saud said:

“The Founding Fathers of the UAE used their vision, sheer grit and determination to build this great country from dialogue and diplomacy.

In Ras Al Khaimah, we are on a unique journey to success. And we are learning how to take our big ideas and turn them into reality.

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.

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 our 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.

We take a holistic approach to development and seek to create the ideal ecosystem for success. From our heavy industry, ports and quarries ... to our economic free zones, manufacturing and tourism industry – all these sectors are linked by common denominators - strong governance, an independent judiciary and a robust legal framework.

In terms of tourism, Ras Al Khaimah has developed a comprehensive strategy. To remain on the path to success, we have endeavored to put systems and structures in place that are tailored to the needs of the investor and delivers results for them and for us. In addition, our development strategy is informed by credible data and backed by stable governance and strong institutions.”  

The one-day World Travel & Tourism Council Middle East & North Africa Leaders Forum 2019 brought together a select group of CEOs and regional travel and tourism leaders, along with Tourism Ministers and regional experts. It was devised to provide a platform for leaders to discuss the key issues facing the region’s travel and tourism sector and it involved panel discussions on topics such as ‘Leading By Example’ and ‘Skills For The Future’.

Speakers included Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman and youngest Arab to summit Mount Everest; Paul Griffiths, the CEO of Dubai Airports; Raki Phillips, the CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; Shaun Vorster, the Vice President of Expo 2020 Dubai; Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud; and Gloria Guevara, the President & CEO of WTTC and former Tourism Minister of Mexico.


About His Highness Sheikh Saud

His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi is a Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). Born in Dubai in 1956, he was educated in Ras Al Khaimah before attending the American University of Beirut. He later moved to the University of Michigan, graduating with an Economics Degree.

He returned home in 1979 and was appointed Chief of the Ruler’s Court before becoming Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah Municipal Council in 1986. In this period, H.H. Sheikh Saud founded RAK Ceramics and restructured Julphar Pharmaceuticals and RAK Rock to ensure both became the industry leaders they are today.

H.H. Sheikh Saud was named Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah on 14 June 2003. In this role he oversaw the introduction of free zones, efficient business licensing procedures and offshore corporate registration.

On 27 October 2010, after the passing of his father H.H. Sheikh Saqr (May he rest in Peace), H.H. Sheikh Saud became the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. As Ruler, he has continued to expand and diversify Ras Al Khaimah’s economic base and improve the quality of its social services, while working hard to make high-quality education and healthcare services available to all the Emirate’s population.

H.H. Sheikh Saud received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bolton, UK, in 2010; an Honorary Fellowship of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in India, in 2013; and an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Economics from Incheon National University, South Korea, in 2018, a year in which he was also named Visionary Leader of the Year by Arabian Business.

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.

Ras Al Khaimah is also centrally located at the modern crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa, 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 multiple major companies and diverse sectoral interests. They include: RAK Ceramics, RAKBANK, Julphar Pharmaceuticals, RAK Ports, RAK Rock, Stevin Rock, RAK Economic Zone, RAK Gas, manufacturing 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 fastest court in the world at enforcing contracts in commercial disputes.

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© Press Release 2019

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