Ras Al Khaimah government takes over Banyan Tree
June 08, 2011
Louise Oakley, May 30th, 2011.
The government of Ras Al Khaimah has today inked a deal with Rakeen Development to take over the luxury Banyan Tree Al Wadi desert resort.
According to the agreement, Rakeen Development will hand over ownership of Banyan Tree Al Wadi to the government of Ras Al Khaimah.
Speaking at the signing, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, said: “With this wonderful partnership and our regional expertise, we believe that Banyan Tree Al Wadi will outgrow its potential, achieve new heights and grow to become the beacon of top-class quality service in this region.
“We aim to create an impact as a strategic player and increase our portfolio with a goal to attract world-class hotel corporations and investors to the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah that is with our robust economic growth and strong tourism expansion plan in the next few years,” His Highness asserted.
The acquisition of Banyan Tree Al Wadi is part of the emirate’s 10-year ambitious growth plan, which states that Ras Al Khaimah will plough hundreds of millions of dollars into hotels and tourism projects in a bid to quadruple its visitor count.
The emirate, from which GDP comprises 1.5% of the UAE’s economy, is aiming to grow tourism revenues to account for 20% of its income by 2021 — by positioning itself as a lower-cost destination to neighbouring Dubai.
Victor Louis, chief operating officer of Ras Al Khaimah Hotels and Tourism Development Authority — responsible for driving this growth on behalf of the government — commented at the signing: “We are very proud to have Banyan Tree RAK join the Government’s portfolio. This is a really unique property that offers the highest standards of excellence to sophisticated clientele.
“As a boutique hotel it forms a part of a growing, high value added sector of the travel industry in which we intend to further expand our investments.”
The contract was signed earlier today at the resort, with attendees also including Ho KwonPing, executive chairman and founder, Banyan Tree Holdings Limited; Jim Stewart, chief executive officer, Investment & Development Office —Government of Ras Al Khaimah; and Pascal Eppink, general manager, Banyan Tree Al Wadi, who has lead the resort through pre-opening and its first year of operations.
Banyan Tree Al Wadi was officially launched on April 17, 2010, in the Wadi Khadeja area of RAK, set amongst 100 hectares of private nature reserve.