RAK Tourism Development Authority unveils support measures for tourism industry

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Mohamed Nass - - Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, RAKTDA, has unveiled support measures that will be in place from mid-April aimed at helping tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It include a six-month waiver of all touristic licences; waiver of tourism dirhams from March to May; a complete exemption of tourism licencing fees for Q2 and Q3 and tourism licencing fines until September 30th.

The tourism authority said this move further reflects the emirate’s ‘ONE RAK’ commitment to transparency, ease of doing business and global community spirit. It has sent all business partners and stakeholders a comprehensive contingency plan, which maps out short to mid-term solutions to mitigate the negative impact of coronavirus on travel to Ras Al Khaimah.

Addressing partners and stakeholders via a virtual meeting, CEO Raki Phillips highlighted that the hospitality industry was facing a grave threat from the coronavirus. The UNWTO estimates losses from international visitor spends to be between US$30-50 billion globally, while the World Travel and Tourism Council has found up to 50 million jobs have been put at risk.

RAKTDA’s prompt robust response sees the creation of an internal Stimulus Committee and Steering Stimulus Committee representing the emirate. Led by Raki Phillips and top executives across the hospitality, leisure and development sectors.

This support will be further enhanced by a dedicated Financial Incentive Package for non-government owned touristic entities, including a budget, midscale and 4-star hotels as well as attractions, golf courses and other tourism establishments, the tourism authority said, adding that in addition to this, hospitality partners will be able to benefit from complimentary participation in a diverse array of exhibitions and roadshows set to take place in 2020 and 2021 within the emirate and abroad.

RAKTDA’s move complements 17 government initiatives (10 for individuals and seven for SMEs announced by the Ministry of Economy, in addition to support by local developers, which includes three-month rental relief for residents and corporations, as well as the deferral of fees.

Alongside the tourism initiatives, RAKTDA is focusing on tourism development and boosting the international presence of the Emirate through a suite of destination marketing strategies and reinforced promotion of the established Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions facilities, to revive the travel sector.

"Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority fully understands and shares the concerns of its business partners and guests concerning the COVID-19 outbreak, which is significantly disrupting the global travel and tourism industry. It is imperative that we are transparent in our communications and work together to find solutions to this very challenging situation," said Phillips during the virtual meeting.

Its four-step road to recovery places initial focus on the domestic market, followed by the GCC and wider Middle East, to then be extended to Asia and Europe.

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