Ras Al Khaimah plans fresh branding and targets UK

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Ras Al Khaimah, the emirate in the UAE, will unveil new branding in time for this year’s World Travel Market and is looking to work more closely with UK agents to raise the destination’s profile.

Speaking to Travel Weekly at last week’s ITT Conference, new tourism authority chief executive Haitham Mattar said the emirate had enjoyed a 25% year-on-year rise in UK visitors this year.

Agreements have been struck with Qatar Airways and Royal Brunei on joint promotions and flights to the emirate. Ras Al Khaimah is also collaborating with neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Mattar said he expected the ??UK to challenge Germany and Russia as the emirate’s number-one source market.

It has taken on PR MediaCo as UK general sales agent and will increase its fam trip programme.

“Our challenge has been lack of seats,” said Mattar. “We have been relying on Virgin Holidays charters and Dubai being our hub.”

Ras Al Khaimah claims to have more history and culture than other emirates and positions itself as the “boutique emirate” offering “real prices”.

Mattar claimed rates were about 15% lower than in Dubai, adding: “But there’s no compromise on quality or standards. You can have a luxury experience without breaking the bank.

“Our objective is not to compete with Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but to find ways to complement them.”

Mattar said the emirate’s increased marketing budget for 2015 and 2016 would be spent with trade partners with a strong digital and social m