The agreement was signed by Haitham Mattar, ceo of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and Captain Clifford William Brand, ceo of RAK Ports.
The signing ceremony took place at a workshop organsied by RAKTDA, which saw the attendance of general managers from the Emirate’s leading hotels, destination management companies, and official representatives from RAK customs, immigration and port’s authority.
Under the agreement, RAKTDA and RAK Ports will work on multiple maritime projects including finalising the transformation of its existing ferry terminal into a modern and efficient boutique cruise passenger terminal and develop marine transport infrastructure around it, while RAKTDA will design cruise visitor itineraries for arrivals during the 2018-2019 season.
RAK Ports will also facilitate water tourism operations by developing state of the art ferry, abra and water bus passenger platforms, commence water bus service from RAK Creek to Al Hamra, Marjan, Mina Al Arab, and create a marine licensing authority for leisure dhows, water buses and abras carrying passengers in RAK territorial water (under the Ports Authority).
Mattar commented: ‘As part of our Destination 2025 tourism strategy to attract 3 million visitors to Ras al Khaimah by the end of 2025, we identified the cruise segment as a key part of the strategy, and ever since we’ve been working on developing the infrastructure to promote our cruise tourism proposition.
‘In the last two years we have been focusing on the international diversification of our visitor source markets, from which we continue to see double digit growth, as we promote our offering to the three key leisure segments, including active adventurers, wellness seekers and cultural explorers.’
Visitors can enjoy a flight on the world’s longest zip line at the top of Jebel Jais as well as several authentic nature and culture based experiences in Ras Al Khaimah, which boasts an abundance of natural assets such as 64km of pristine coastline, the highest mountains in the UAE, as well as diverse landscapes such as desert and springs.
Captain Brand remarked, ‘We are looking forward to this partnership with RAKTDA, and confident that it will play a key role in supporting Ras Al Khaimah’s vision of growing the cruise tourism sector and realizing their tourism strategy. We have completed the development of the city’s first boutique cruise vessel passenger terminal, which will be able to accommodate multiple cruise ships docking simultaneously, and have installed new security measures such as facial recognition CCTV, luggage and personal baggage X-Ray machines to ensure that passenger receive an impeccable service and enjoy a hassle-free experience.’
The collaboration will involve joint direct marketing efforts to promote Ras Al Khaimah as a destination and attract boutique cruise ship operators.