Wednesday May 22, 2024

After Dubai, what's the next 'it' spot for billionaires?

Termed by some as Las Vegas of the Gulf, Ras Al Khaimah is working to lure wealthy individuals for investments

By Web Desk
July 11, 2023
General view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. — AFP/File
General view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. — AFP/File

As the emirate of Dubai gets more crowded and expensive, travellers and tourists may have found another option nearly 45 minutes away from the megacity known for its luxury shopping — Ras Al Khaimah.

The emirate is already well-known for its mountains and ceramics industry and is now looking to lure wealthy individuals, such as hoteliers, industrialists and adventure-seeking tourists worldwide.

How does it plan to do that?

On the one hand, Bloomberg cited immigration consultants saying that the emirate is likely to benefit from United Arab Emirates' citizenship-by-investment program.

On the other hand, RAK, termed by some as Las Vegas of the Gulf, is working to set up a new free zone for digital and virtual asset companies.

Moreover, the emirate aims to become a yacht manufacturing hub.

According to the founding chief executive of the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, the Ras Al Khaimah Investment and Development Office, Izzat Dajani: "Some now like to call it the Las Vegas of the Gulf, but ultimately RAK should be RAK as it has plenty to shape its direction.

"The government will be looking at the return on capital in multiple ways — the financial return, the social return and the cultural return."

Luring billionaires

However, RAK undoubtedly faces several challenges. On the one hand, many parts of the city still need much development. On the other hand, not all its plans are successful.

Regardless, the emirate is growing closer to its aim.

According to Bloomberg, RAK "set a record for annual visitors with more than 1.1 million overnight arrivals, a 16% increase from the prior year, including a 40% gain in foreign tourists."

Moreover, the emirate aims for longer-term economic benefits, hoping to ensure its investors stay in the long run.

Although gambling and casinos are still illegal in UAE, creating roadblocks for some investors, five-star hotels are already investing heavily in RAK, Bloomberg reported, adding that the "InterContinental Hotels Group, Mövenpick and Radisson each opened new facilities last year, increasing the emirate's inventory by 17% to more than 8,000 rooms.

"Another 19 properties are in the works, including global brands like the Westin and Nobu, which will be built by a Russian developer."