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RAK BRIEFING


RAK gateway project.


RAK To ThE fuTuRE investment


The northern Emirate’s feisty annual business conferences are drawing in new investors. TExT By PETEr Shaw-SmITh


W


HEN YOU LIVE up the road from World Conference Central,


trying to attract people to come to your own more modest symposia is a challenge. Resourceful Ras Al Khaimah is undeterred. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi,


Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, is nothing if not a canny host. Since taking over management of the emirate’s affairs in 2003, he has presided over a flowering of its economy, now $4.5 billion in size.


Downtown RAK is not for the faint- hearted. With poor roads, and little more than a mall and a quaint and dated version of the Hilton Hotel, most people encounter it only if they fancy camping on the Mussandam Peninsula or a chat with one of the struggling cement company CEOs. But the Hamra Resort continues to blossom, with several new amenities and the picture postcard vistas are almost a match for the best that Dubai has to offer. The new Palace Hotel is the height of luxury, sumptuous townhouses stretch as far as the eye can see, and a new aqua-park and apartment developments - including an offshore island - are going up along the seashore. The effort to promote RAK has not


happened overnight. When an Emirates pilot, who was paying for a new villa at RAK Properties, said in 2007 he loved the idea of not having to bother with the traffic and fumes of Dubai in his daily routine any more, you could sense a unique selling point. Last year, after teaming up with international event promotion group Horasis, Sheikh Saud put on the Annual Global Arab Business Meeting in Ras Al Khaimah. Led by chairman and one-man team,


Dr. Frank-Jurgen Richter, Horasis has been organising events around the world for six years and this year puts on conferences in Valencia, Luxembourg and Zurich. Switzerland-based Horasis has been active since 2005.


GULF BUSINESS / 45


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