‘Ras Al Khaimah is emerging as one of the region’s fastest growing tourism destination’
Abdullah Al Abdooli, Chief Executive Officer at Marjan, the master-developer of freehold properties in the Emirate, speaks on driving the development of their flagship Al Marjan Island, bringing investments from India
For years, one of the seven Emirates that together form the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah, has been home to Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) that connects global investors and international markets. It has also been the headquarters of global ceramics manufacturer, RAK Ceramics and Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries. But what was once an industrial city is slowly getting transformed into a tourism destination.
With cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi driving in more on the business tourism front, Ras Al Khaimah is now being seen as UAE’s biggest bet for leisure tourism. Driving this change is Al Marjan Island, the flagship project of Marjan, ¬where residential villas, luxurious hotels and an integrated resort by high-end hotel operator Wynn Resorts are coming up. Al Marjan Island is integral to UAE’s plan to put Ras Al Khaimah on the global map as a leisure tourism destination.
Topography plays a key role in Ras Al Khaimah’s development, not to forget that it is home to the highest peak in the UAE apart from unending sandy deserts and pristine white-sand beaches, which makes it the perfect getaway for tourists and residents alike.
“With the vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the Emirate has transformed into a different destination altogether. Marjan invests in master planning and infrastructure and then sells plots to third party investors, developers, and institutional funds to build real estate models including resorts, residential buildings, villas and retail establishments,” explains Al Abdouli.
“The Emirate is diversified between logistics, real estate, free zone, mining, industries, and services with no sector of economy taking more than 20 per cent share of the GDP. This shows that the UAE is a place where people can grow, and every Emirate complements the other. This is the success factor of Ras Al Khaimah,” he says.
Investments rolling in
Al Abdouli says people from several different nationalities have started investing in Al Marjan Island, a majority being from UAE, followed by Indians. “This shows the close ties between India and the UAE. Indians know the market and believe in the destination. Today, there is an opportunity to grow this relation with increased investment opportunities,” he adds.
Marjan is targetting 8,000 hotel keys, 12,000 residential units and 600 holiday villas on Al Marjan Island. Al Marjan Island, extends around 4.5 km deep into the Arabian Gulf and covers an area of around 2.7 million sqm.
Unique integrated resort
Marjan, RAK Hospitality Holding and Wynn Resorts are working together to develop the first Wynn Resort in the Middle East. The multi-billion-dollar resort will be a product that will be a game-changer not just for Ras Al Khaimah but for the entire region. The integrated resort will be developed with significant foreign direct investment by Wynn Resorts. As the largest project of its kind in the Emirate’s growing hospitality sector, it will create substantial value for the local economy by accelerating tourism, creating jobs, and energising the growth of related sectors.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER - THE WEDDINGS & MICE SPECIAL'
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