DUBAI: Tourism is a priority in Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, said on Thursday.
Shaikh Saud’s keynote speech at the World Tourism Day Conference at the emirate’s Al Marjan Island Convention Centre, was supported by Mohammad Al Muhairi, Undersecretary to the UAE Minister of Economy, who spoke of the important contribution the tourism sector makes to the economies of Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE.
In keeping with the UN World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO’s) annual theme, Tourism for All, topics at the conference included how to make tourism destinations and products accessible to disabled travellers, elderly travellers with reduced mobility, and families with small children.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), told the conference: “World Tourism Day is an annual UNWTO organised event, which aims to promote responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
“As well as marking the celebrations with an informative and insightful conference, we decided to go a step further this year and put words into action.
“Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has today strengthened its commitment to deliver Tourism For All by signing the Accessible Tourism Code of Good Conduct. This code was developed by the European Network of Accessible Tourism (ENAT) — represented today by one of our keynote speakers Ivor Ambrose.
“Over the next three years, we will commence the journey to honour our commitment to this code by establishing accessible tourism products and practices in the emirate.”
And as the proportion of mature travellers continues to rise, the conference also looked at the potential of wellness tourism.
In addition, the event allowed RAKTDA to demonstrate the emirate’s capabilities in staging high profile meetings. “We have a superb range of venues as well as the expertise to service the high value MICE sector and are building a credible reputation as an exciting alternative for business conferences and corporate gatherings,” explained Mattar.
“We are supporting the development of our MICE profile with the creation of an events calendar for the destination which we anticipate will act as a spur to attract additional meetings, convention, incentives and exhibition business.”
The conference attracted more than 300 people, including thought leaders and key stakeholders from across the UAE.
RAKTDA, established in 2011, aims to establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination and attract a million visitors by the end of 2018.