Ras Al Khaimah beach. For illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Supplied

Ras Al Khaimah: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) said it is working closely with hospitality partners and government authorities to safely welcome guests back to the emirate as restrictions are gradually eased and hotel pools and beaches become accessible to visitors.

The statement comes close on the heels of a western media report that claimed British expats ignored COVID-19 social distancing rules as they crowded a swimming pool at the beachfront DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Resort and Spa Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah.

Hilton spokesperson William Costley said the majority of their guests are taking a common sense approach and acting responsibly.

“DoubleTree Marjan Island Resort is welcoming guests for staycations operating in accordance with local government regulations. The safety of our guests and team members is our number one priority - we are reminding guests at check in and during their stay via signs and through our team members to adhere to social distancing guidelines,” Costley said in an email to Gulf News.

“The majority of our guests are taking a common sense approach to the guidance and acting responsibly in line with government advice on social distancing,” the statement said.

RAKTDA said they have an ongoing dialogue with hotel partners to ensure they are strictly adhering to government and public health guidelines and complying with all social distancing advisories from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the UAE federal authorities.

“The health and safety of our visitors, residents and colleagues is our utmost priority,” said Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.

“We are working closely with our hospitality partners and government authorities to ensure the highest standards of hygiene are maintained and that all social distancing advisories are strictly adhered to across the emirate. Detailed guidance has been shared with our industry partners indicating best practice measures to be implemented across all operations and divisions,” said Phillips.

He said they have come up with a RAK ‘Stay Safe’ Hotel Certification which hotels can use to demonstrate their adoption of measures to protect the wellbeing of their guests.

RAKTDA is working with the Public Service Department (PSD) to oversee the dedicated certification process. The certification assesses all the measures in place across all areas of the hotels, including reception and concierge areas, guest rooms, restrooms, restaurants and lounges, pools, beaches, spas fitness areas, kid clubs and retail spaces. Guidelines are also being provided around guest transportation, meeting and function spaces, housekeeping, laundry and waste management.

In Ras Al Khaimah, current hospitality standards and procedures include testing of all hotel staff for COVID-19, provision of masks and gloves for all guests, allocation of separate entrances and exits for guests and staff and mandatory thermal screening at all entrances on arrival,” a spokesperson for RAKDA said.

RAKTDA inspectors will also be undertaking daily spot checks to ensure the measures are being adhered to and will provide support from government authorities to help hoteliers enforce the protocols designed for guest wellbeing.