During the most infectious and deadliest months of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the global economy slowed down to the point of stagnation and negative revenue. Estimates of economic losses sustained by the tourism sector around the world during 2020 were greater than $3 trillion. Despite this grim period of zero revenue, job losses, and great uncertainty, tourism officials in countries such as the United Arab Emirates never lost hope or vision; instead, they worked diligently towards preparing their nations to welcome the eventual return of international visitors.
As of June 2021, the UAE occupies the eighth spot on the Tourism and Travel Competitiveness Report compiled by the World Bank, thus making it one of the most attractive destinations for travelers who wish to engage in post-pandemic tourism activities. According to federal statistics within the UAE, the tourism industry rebounded by 158% from the second to the third quarter of 2020, and this is clearly indicative of the efforts made by officials, hospitality leaders, and tourism operators from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and from Sharjah to Ras al Khaimah (RAK).
All seven Emirates have developed health and safety protocols that aim to prevent coronavirus contagion and avoid medical emergencies. In the case of RAK and its ruler Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the COVID-19 travel advisory includes free PCR for international travelers upon arrival at the airport. For the sake of uniformity, the COVID-19 protocols are the same in the rest of the Emirates; for example, you can land in Dubai and get tested at the airport there before taking ground transportation to a RAK beach resort.
The New SelectRAK
Ranking in the top 20 tourism destinations in the world is certainly a point of pride for the UAE, but more specifically for RAK and its burgeoning hospitality sector. In late June, RAK issued a press release announcing a new program that will promote the Emirate as a special place for tourists seeking affordable luxury experiences during their vacations.
The SelectRAK initiative combines business with pleasure and investment potential. One of the goals of this program is to attract the kind of tourist who will consider investing in RAK and becoming a resident along the way. The idea is to position this Emirate as more than just a nice place to visit; the program seeks to boost business and industrial sectors of RAK by welcoming individuals who fall in love with the Emirate from their very first visit.
For tourists who are ready to experience something different after not being able to travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, RAK offers an interesting proposition. This Emirate stands out as the jewel of tourism in the Arabian Peninsula. If you haven’t experienced Arabian hospitality, this is the best place for you to do so. RAK is blessed with sandy beaches, panoramic deserts, numerous oasis spots, all-inclusive resorts, and a mild regional climate that is the envy of the Peninsula. Unlike other Emirates, RAK enjoys a higher altitude that makes it greener and cooler; this is not only great for tourism but also for agriculture.
The greatest advantage of RAK with regard to tourism lies within its history as an ancient trading port and as a place where merchants who crossed the Arabian deserts came to relax at refreshing oasis spots. In other words, RAK is known for its warm Arabian hospitality. After decades of mostly being known as a sleepy Emirate devoid of oil riches, RAK has been transformed into a premier tourism destination where families can stay at luxurious beach resort and visit a genuine Bedouin desert camp at an oasis.
Combining the natural beauty of RAK with a thriving business climate and high quality of life is at the heart of the SelectRAK initiative. RAK can be described as a more laidback and family-friendly version of Dubai, thus making it ideal for entrepreneurs and business-minded individuals who are thinking about a future relocation. Now is a great time to visit RAK because tourism operators are extending discounts and special offers in the wake of the pandemic. Without a doubt, the UAE is a great place to discover in 2021, especially if you make it a point to include RAK in your itinerary.