RAKTDA commits to accessible tourism

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has strengthened its commitment to deliver ‘Tourism For All’ by signing the Accessible Tourism Code of Good Conduct, during its annual UAE World Tourism Day conference.

The half-day UAE World Tourism Day Conference, held at the Al Marjan Island Convention Centre, saw keynote addresses from H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and His Excellency Mohammad Al Muhairi, Undersecretary to UAE Minister of Economy who spoke about the important contribution of tourism to Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE.

As well as discussing issues and developments within accessible tourism and matters that strengthen Ras Al Khaimah’s and the UAE’s tourism propositions, the conference addressed the key needs of family and elderly travellers, aligning with UNWTO’s World Tourism Day which was marked earlier this week – under the theme ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility.’

The conference brought together international thought leaders in front of an audience of key industry stakeholders from across the UAE, including: Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Ivor Ambrose, President of European Network for Accessible Tourism; Andrew Dent, CEO of the UK’s highly popular Family Traveller Magazine; Urs Binggelli, Senior Travel and Tourism Expert at global management consultants McKinsey & Company and Scott Booth, Research Director and Head of Travel, Tourism & Leisure for the internet-based market research firm, YouGov ME.

Topics explored included: how to make tourism destinations and products accessible to disabled travellers, elderly travellers with reduced mobility, and families with small children. The potential of wellness tourism was discussed as the percentage of the mature travelling population continues to grow.

Mattar said: “World Tourism Day is an annual UNTWO organised event, which aims to promote responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As well as marking the celebrations with an informative and insightful conference, we decided to go a step further this year and put words into action.

The conference also served as an opportunity for RAKTDA to demonstrate the emirate’s capabilities in staging high profile meetings: “We have a superb range of venues as well as the expertise to service the high value MICE sector and are building a credible reputation as an exciting alternative for business conferences and corporate gatherings,” explained Mattar.

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