Tag Archives: Haitham Mattar

Hospitality veteran Raki Phillips appointed as CEO of RAKTDA

RAKTDA_CEO Raki Phillips Photo

Raki Phillips, an award-winning hospitality veteran, has been named as the new CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), with the authority saying that his appointment marks the commencement of a new phase of tourism development for the Emirate. Phillips, who has worked for some of the world’s most renowned global brands, including Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Universal Studios Orlando and who was named one of the ‘Top 20 Most Powerful Hoteliers,’ will be responsible for delivering the authority’s recently announced Destination Strategy 2019-2021, which aims to attract 1.5 million visitors to the Emirate by 2021 and 3 million by 2025. Phillips takes over the reins from Haitham Mattar, whose four-year tenure as CEO of RAKTDA is credited with repositioning Ras Al Khaimah to become one of the fastest growing destinations in the world and exceeding the target of one million visitors in the first three years. His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, thanked Mattar for his commitment to the role and for his efforts in positioning the Emirate as one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism destinations. RAKTDA’s first tourism strategy was launched in January 2016 and was responsible for accelerating visitor growth, increasing visitor satisfaction and raising the contribution of the tourist sector to the Emirate’s GDP. The strategy introduced new tourism demand generators, including the world’s longest zip line and the Middle East’s first via ferrata, both of which helped position Ras Al Khaimah as the region’s nature-based adventure hub. As the new CEO, Raki Phillips will supervise a number of key projects, with notable development projects on Jebel Jais including multiple zip lines, adventure park …

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RAKTDA strengthens European ties with multi-city roadshow in UK and Germany

Haitham Mattar (8)

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has further strengthened its position in Europe with a multi-city roadshow in the UK and Germany last month that brought together more than 370 tour operators and travel agents. In a bid to attract 1.5 million visitors by 2021, increased emphasis has been put on growing further awareness in key European markets. The European roadshow covered key cities including Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Edinburgh to meet industry representatives and introduce Ras Al Khaimah’s diverse and spectacular beach, desert, mountain, and adventure offerings.  Held at iconic venues such as the Emirates Stadium in London and Edinburgh Castle, the roadshow allowed participants an opportunity to discover Ras Al Khaimah’s unique proposition and its tourism products via presentations, networking events, and interactive quizzes. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “With a unique combination of authentic Arabian hospitality, pristine beaches and outdoor adventure pursuits, Ras Al Khaimah has a great appeal to holidaymakers from all over Europe. We have seen a significant growth in the number of visitors from Europe over the last couple of years, and therefore, our ongoing roadshow programme is a great vehicle to tell the story of the accessible Arabian hospitality. As we look towards our goal of 1.5 million visitors by 2021 and 3 million by 2025, it is essential to personally connect with travel professionals from our source markets to give them a real flavour of everything Ras Al Khaimah has to offer our visitors.”  

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RAKTDA partners with Bear Grylls Survival Academy

RAKTDA x Bear Grylls Surival Academy_Signing Photo_1

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) entered into an agreement with Bear Grylls Survival Academy (BGSA) to establish and operate Ras Al Khaimah’s own Bear Grylls Survival Academy on Jebel Jais, as part of its ongoing drive to attract more adventure seekers from around the world. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority announced the latest addition to the Emirate’s varied portfolio of adventure tourism products recently. A brainchild of Bear Grylls, the most recognised face of survival and outdoor adventure, the Bear Grylls Survival Academy offers thrill seekers an opportunity to learn extreme survival techniques at 20 locations around the world. The Bear Grylls Survival Academy on Jebel Jais, which is scheduled to open in Q1 2020, will offer participants a wide selection of courses suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. The courses include half-day (5 to 6 hours), 24 and 48-hour courses designed for families and adults; team building activities for corporates; and instructor courses for outdoor enthusiasts, where participants will be exposed to practical and extreme survival techniques necessary to survive some of the toughest terrain in the wilderness. The courses will comprise of a combination of survival and adventure tasks that will conclude in a wilderness expedition designed to put the participants’ new-found skills to the ultimate test. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “This partnership to establish our upcoming adventure product recognises a sector of our tourism proposition that is fundamental to the growth of Ras Al Khaimah as a global destination.” Paul Gardiner, Managing Director of Bear Grylls Survival Academy, said, “As the UAE’s highest mountain with its …

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Ras Al Khaimah hosts Belgian Travel Summit

RAKTDA Belgian Travel Summit - Image 1

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) inaugurated the first edition of the Belgian Travel Summit (BTS) taking place until June 1 in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The four-day summit is the first joint Congress of the Belgian trade unions of travel agencies at a national Belgium level and witnessed the attendance of the Association of Flemish Travel Agencies (VVR) and the French speaking Union Professionnelle des Agences de Voyages (UPAV). The summit is hosting a series of plenary sessions led by industry experts and visionaries focused on four key themes: Sustainability, Education, Digitalisation, and Business Development. Key speakers include Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; Murielle Machiels, Academic Director at Solvay Brussels School; Thierry Geerts, Country Director of Google Belgium and Luxembourg; and Pieter Van Leugenhagen, co-founder of a successful Belgian start-up and International Business Development Lead at Yondr. As part of his keynote speech, Mattar said, “We are delighted to host the first edition of the Belgian Travel Summit as we get to showcase Ras Al Khaimah’s mesmerising coastline, scenic mountains, terracotta deserts, historic forts, and some of the most diverse and enchanting landscapes in the region to key members of the Belgian travel trade industry. Our incredible experiences such as Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline have already helped put Ras Al Khaimah on the world map. As we look towards our goal of 1.5 million visitors by 2021 and 3 million by 2025, it is essential to personally connect with travel professionals from our source markets to further develop our partnerships with generalist and specialised tour operators and to give travel advisors at travel agencies a real …

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Netherlands’ largest travel trade and consumer fair to present RAK as host destination

RAKTDA x Vakantiebeurs 2020_Main Photo

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) signed an agreement to present Ras Al Khaimah as the ‘host destination’ at Vakantiebeurs 2020, the largest travel trade and consumer fair in Utrecht, Netherlands. Vakantiebeurs gathers tourism authorities, travel agencies and cultural associations from around the world for an opportunity to introduce their travel destinations and tourism products to consumers and fellow trade partners. Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “With a unique combination of authentic Arabian hospitality, pristine beaches and outdoor adventure pursuits, Ras Al Khaimah has a great appeal to holidaymakers from all over Europe. We have seen a significant growth in visitor numbers from Europe over the last couple of years, and therefore, the region continues to be a key focus for our tourism promotion strategy in a bid to attract 1.5 million visitors by 2021. We look forward to our participation as the host destination at Vakantiebeurs 2020 as it supports our promotional efforts in Europe to ultimately drive further tourism growth in Ras Al Khaimah.” Ras Al Khaimah’s attractiveness amongst international tourists continues to be strong – accounting for 62% of overall visitors in 2018 – attributable to its 7,000 years of fascinating history, authentic Arabian culture and heritage, high-profile adventure attractions, magnificent natural landscapes, and exclusive luxury and wellness experiences. In a steadfast commitment to strengthen Ras Al Khaimah’s popularity in European markets, RAKTDA continues to participate in key European travel trade exhibitions.

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Ras Al Khaimah attracts over one million tourists in 2018

Haitham(2)

Exceeding its target of attracting 1 million visitors by 2018, Ras Al Khaimah reported 1,072,066 visitors from domestic and key international markets during the year. Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) reported a 10 per cent growth in visitors compared to 2017, led by the UAE domestic market which continues to generate 38 per cent of overall visitors. Germany continues to be the leading international source market with 83,605 visitors, followed by Russia, with 83,531 visitors – up by a significant 17 per cent on 2017. The third largest source market was the UK, with 63,054 visitors, up 11.5 per cent; India was fourth with 62,325 visitors, up 22 per cent; rounding out the top five was Kazakhstan with 27,168 visitors, a growth of 28 per cent. One of Ras Al Khaimah’s key milestones in 2018 was the launch of Jebel Jais Flight – the world’s longest zipline, which has welcomed over 25,000 flyers since opening 12 months ago. This put Ras Al Khaimah on the map, breaking the world record and strengthening the emirate’s credentials as the fastest growing adventure tourism destination in the region. Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA said, “2018 has been another remarkable year for the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah in terms of achievements and milestones accomplished, primarily exceeding our target of 1 million visitors. With the current robust visitor demand, solid regional and international partnerships in place and iconic product launches over the past few years, Ras Al Khaimah is on a mission to further assert its position as the fastest growing tourism destination in the region, whilst promoting our emirate’s breadth of offerings to regional and international target markets”. Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority …

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Ras Al Khaimah to drive visitor growth from Central and Eastern Europe

Haitham(2)

In line with its new Destination Strategy 2019-21 and long-term objectives of strengthening the emirate’s presence in key international markets, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced the opening of its first international representative office in Prague, Czech Republic to manage and oversee the authority’s activities in Central and Eastern Europe. The new office will play a vital role in promoting the destination and driving further growth in the number of visitors travelling to Ras Al Khaimah. In 2018, visitor numbers from the Czech Republic and Hungary were up by 18.4 per cent and 11.4 per cent respectively compared to the previous year. Announcing the opening of the new office, Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA said, “Our Destination Strategy 2019-21 aims to attract 1.5 million visitors to the emirate by 2021. We believe that by providing a compelling proposition and establishing dedicated presence in our key international target markets, we will be able to promote the destination and its diverse offering driving growth in visitor numbers. Central and Eastern European countries are amongst the fastest growing markets for us and frequently rank in our top ten source markets for visitors. The new representative office in Prague will support our promotional activities, trade partnerships and help us develop the region’s high potential outbound market.” Adding to RAKTDA international representation offices in UK, Germany, Russia and Nordics, the Prague office will support RAKTDA’s initiatives to drive further awareness of the emirate as a multi-faceted leisure destination to Central and East European travellers.

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Ras Al Khaimah attracts more European destinations

New Direct Flight- Wroclaw to RAK- 2

Launched by Enter Air, a charter airline of reputed tour operator TUI Poland landed its inaugural direct flight carrying 185 passengers from Wroclaw to Ras Al Khaimah. The new route will be served once a week every Sunday, providing Polish travellers a direct and more accessible access to Ras Al Khaimah. Ras Al Khaimah’s attractiveness as a destination for international travellers continues to be strong, accounting for 62% of overall visitors in the first three quarters of 2018. As part of its Destination 2019 strategy, RAKTDA has significantly increased its promotions in Europe showcasing the diversity of the destination to core audiences in key markets. Commenting on the launch of the new route, Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer, RAKTDA, said, “Over the last few years, Poland has become one of the strongest international tourism source markets to RAK, and therefore this step is an important strategic development that will further facilitate the successful bilateral ties between both the countries. Moreover, this new addition expands the network of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport even further, reflecting the strong global confidence in the Emirate’s travel and tourism industry. Europe is a key market for the Emirate, and we are confident that this new route will be extremely successful in increasing visitor arrivals to the Emirate even further.

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Enter Air charters to Ras Al Khaimah

New Direct Flight- Wroclaw to RAK- 2

Launched by Enter Air, a charter airline of reputed tour operator TUI Poland landed its inaugural direct flight carrying 185 passengers from Wroclaw to Ras Al Khaimah. The new route will be served once a week every Sunday, providing Polish travellers a direct and more accessible access to Ras Al Khaimah. Ras Al Khaimah’s attractiveness as a destination for international travellers continues to be strong, accounting for 62% of overall visitors in the first three quarters of 2018. As part of its Destination 2019 strategy, RAKTDA has significantly increased its promotions in Europe showcasing the diversity of the destination to core audiences in key markets. Ras Al Khaimah International Airport now welcomes direct charter and scheduled services from various global destinations including Cairo, Islamabad, Jeddah, Lahore, Peshawar, Calicut, Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw, Luxemburg, Prague and Moscow in addition to Wroclaw. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer, RAKTDA said, “Over the last few years, Poland has become one of the strongest international tourism source markets to RAK, and therefore this step is an important strategic development that will further facilitate the successful bilateral ties between both countries. Moreover, this new addition expands the network of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport even further, reflecting the strong global confidence in the emirate’s travel and tourism industry. Europe is a key market for the emirate, and we are very confident that this new route will be extremely successful in increasing visitor arrivals to the emirate even further.”

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RAK hosts AITO Annual Conference

ICONS of Rugby 2018

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) recently hosted the UK’s “Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)” annual conference. The conference welcomed 120 of the UK’s top specialist travel companies to the UAE’s northern Emirate and introduced them to the destination with its diverse and spectacular offering. The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) is an umbrella organisation that represents Britain’s best independent tour operators. Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “The United Kingdom has held its position as one of the top four key source markets for Ras Al Khaimah Tourism over the past few years and continues to show huge potential for further growth. In the first ten months of 2018, Ras al Khaimah saw visitors from the UK increase by 11 per cent over the previous year. RAKTDA aims to increase the number of the UK visitors in 2019 by 20 per cent through increased marketing and trade partnerships.” Derek Moore, Chairman, AITO, commented, “We’re thrilled to have been invited by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Development Authority (RAKTDA). It has been particularly exciting for AITO members to visit such a fascinating destination that is on the cusp of change in terms of tourism.” Gemma Antrobus, Chair – AITO Specialist Travel Agents, commented, “This is a destination with enormous potential for AITO Specialist Travel Agents, who are always on the lookout for somewhere a little different from the mainstream. It offers the perfect balance of beach, activity, history and culture, providing the variety that many of our discerning clients seek and that AITO agents enjoy selling!”

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