Aito has announced its 2018 conference will head to Ras Al Khaimah.
This year’s event will be held over November 22-25 in the UAE’s northernmost emirate.
Aito chairman Derek Moore said after the association built its 2016 conference around the iconic city of Petra in Jordan before heading to Portugal’s emerging Alentejo region last year, it was after a “middle path” this year.
“For 2018, we debated whether the conference should be held somewhere iconic or somewhere unknown,” said Moore. “Instead, we have chosen to offer a Tale of the Unexpected.”
“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises seven emirates of which the most familiar are, arguably, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Just 45 minutes’ drive from the bustle of Dubai International Airport lies the unexpected, and less well-known, surprise that is Ras Al Khaimah, or RAK, as it is referred to locally.
“Like many Gulf states, Ras Al Khaimah features year-long sunshine, inviting white-sand beaches and spectacular terracotta desert landscapes.
“However, in contrast to the fast pace and bright lights of its neighbours, this northern-most emirate offers a more laid-back vibe, fewer high-rise developments, the highest mountains in the UAE, and a variety of exciting activities, along with a history and culture spanning 7,000 years.”
Moore added: “It is particularly exciting for Aito members to visit such a fascinating destination on the cusp of change in terms of tourism. We are also pleased to be flying with Emirates to the conference – its vast network of airports in the UK will make travel to Ras Al Khaimah so convenient for our members who are spread across the country.”
Gemma Antrobus, chair of Aito Specialist Travel Agents, added: “This is a destination with enormous potential for Aito Specialist Travel Agents, who are always on the lookout for somewhere a little different from the mainstream.
“It offers the perfect balance of beach, activity, history and culture, providing the variety that many of our discerning clients seek and that Aito agents enjoy selling.”
Delegates will fly to Dubai before transfer to Ras Al Khaimah where there will be two accommodation options - the five-star Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa overlooking the beach, or the four-star Hilton Garden Inn nearer the town offering views across the inland waterway.
The Hilton Garden Inn will also be the setting for the conference.
Ras Al Khaimah boasts the world’s longest zipline at some 2.83km, as well as opportunities to kayak its inland waterways, or go dune bashing in the desert.
The Al Wadi Nature Reserve is home to camels, a wide range of birds and the Arabian onyx.
Those keen to get a taste of the history and culture of the destination can explore the old town, its souks, markets and archaeological sites.