The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is keen to raise its profile as a tourism destination and RAK Ports is determined to play a full role in achieving that objective. Reflecting this aspiration, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed recently by Haitham Mattar, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Captain Clifford Brand, chief executive of RAK Ports.
Under the terms of the agreement, RAKTDA and RAK Ports will work on a number of different maritime projects with the aim of boosting tourism. This includes finalising the transformation of the existing ferry terminal into a modern and efficient cruise passenger terminal and developing marine transport infrastructure around it. For its part, RAKTDA will design cruise visitor itineraries for arrivals during the 2018-2019 season.
RAK Ports will also facilitate water tourism operations by developing high quality ferry, abra and water bus passenger services, initially with a water bus service from RAK Creek to Al Hamra, Marjan and Mina Al Arab. Additionally it will create a marine licensing authority for leisure dhows, water buses and abras carrying passengers in RAK territorial waters under Ports Authority jurisdiction.
Mr. Mattar commented: “As part of our Destination 2025 tourism strategy to attract 3 million visitors to Ras al Khaimah by the end of 2025, we identified the cruise segment as a key part of the strategy. Ever since we have been working on developing the infrastructure to promote our cruise tourism proposition.”
RAK Ports’ new cruise vessel passenger terminal will be able to accommodate several cruise ships docking simultaneously, and will feature new security measures such as facial recognition CCTV and luggage and personal baggage x-ray machines. It is expected to be ready to accept its first cruise vessel calls in the fourth quarter of 2018.