Ras-Al-Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has outlined measures to mitigate the impact on tourism as a result of COVID-19.
With countries in lockdown and airline restrictions in place, there is no denying that the tourism industry is under severe pressure. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, 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 that up to 50 million jobs have been put at risk.
It is becoming increasingly evident, that recovering from the economic impact of this global crisis starts at home, which is why authorities such as the IATA have been calling for government intervention and governments have been strategizing the way forward. As such, it is reassuring to see tourism authorities, such as Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) unveiling measures to help the industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
RAK Tourism shows support to the industry
RAKTDA has unveiled a series of support actions that will be put in place from mid-April. These include:
- A six-month waiver on all touristic licenses
- Waivers on tourism dirhams between March and May
- A waiver on tourism licensing fines until September 30th
- A complete exemption of tourism licensing fees for Q2 and Q3
According to WAM, the RAK tourism authority 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.
The tourism authority said this move further reflects the emirate’s ‘ONE RAK’ commitment to transparency, ease of doing business and global community spirit.
Addressing partners and stakeholders via a virtual meeting, CEO Raki Phillips highlighted that the hospitality industry was facing a grave threat from the coronavirus.
RAKTDA’s prompt and robust response has seen the creation of an internal Stimulus Committee and Steering Stimulus Committee to represent the emirate, which will be led by Raki Phillips and top executives across the hospitality, leisure and development sectors.
Financial incentive package
RAKTDA’s support will be further enhanced by a dedicated Financial Incentive Package for non-government owned touristic entities; this includes budget, midscale and 4-star hotels as well as attractions, golf courses and other tourism establishments. In addition to this, the tourism authority has said that 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 seventeen government initiatives, ten of which are for individuals and seven for SMEs, which have been announced by the Ministry of Economy; this is in addition to support from local developers that 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 series of destination to revive the travel sector.
During the virtual meeting, Phillips said, “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.”
RAKTDA has a four-step recovery plan, which places initial focus on the domestic market, followed by the GCC and wider Middle East, and then to the extended markets in Asia and Europe.
It is certainly encouraging to see such support and forward-planning within the UAE and offers promise to all those interwoven in the travel and tourism sectors.
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