Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah celebrated by industry leaders for innovative communications campaigns
Ras Al Khaimah has been recognised by the Middle East PR Association (MEPRA) at this year’s annual awards ceremony, taking home two of the Best Travel and Tourism Campaign category’s top spots at the region’s largest communications and public relations forum.
Announced on 24 November 2021 in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) was recognised by industry experts for the highly successful and impactful launch of its new tourism brand vision and identity with a Silver award. Other destinations in the category included Singapore, The Royal Commission for Al Ula, Yas Island and Dubai Government Media Office’s ‘World’s Coolest Winter’.
Led by an integrated campaign that brought to life the new positioning and translated into immediate tangible benefits, the celebration of Ras Al Khaimah ‘s unique topography drew on fulfilling moments in ‘The Northern Emirate’ to create an emotional link between today’s traveller and the destination’s ability to offer the perfect travel experience for the new normal. Building on the foundation of Ras Al Khaimah’s stunning natural landscape, The Ritz-Carlton scooped the Bronze award for its campaign Putting Ras Al Khaimah on the Luxury Map. Designed to transform The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert into destination resorts, the campaign focused on highlighting the attractiveness and ease of a holiday in the Emirate, and showcasing the resorts’ unparalleled activities, experiences and amenities to a local and regional audience.
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, commented: “With the impact of the global pandemic, we understood the need to re-imagine tourism and our Emirate’s place within it. We quickly realized that Ras Al Khaimah was perfectly attuned to the new era of post pandemic travel with its natural and expansive spaces, stunning topography and mountain eco-system. Our new destination brand campaign enabled us to take control of the Emirate’s narrative during a period of unprecedented disruption to the travel and tourism sector, carving out a unique identity and driving our recovery as a destination. It is great to see our work being recognised, not only for its innovation and creativity but for its very demonstrable impact on the Emirate’s bounce back.”
Working with partners Sputnik Floyd, Beautiful Destinations and ASDA’A BCW, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority’s new vision and destination brand was launched at Arabian Travel Market in May 2021. Drawing on Ras Al Khaimah’s extensive and diverse natural outdoor environment as its greatest asset, the Emirate’s new destination positioning enabled the Authority to redefine the Emirate’s narrative during a period of unprecedented disruption to the travel and tourism sector.
To create the new brand identity, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and lead partner Sputnik Floyd undertook a series of interviews and focus groups with community stakeholders, government entities in Ras Al Khaimah as well as partners in key international source markets, including Russia and CIS, Germany and the United Kingdom. Through analyzing emerging travel patterns as a result of the ‘Great Reset’, the team quickly realized that Ras Al Khaimah was perfectly attuned to the new era of post pandemic travel with its natural and expansive spaces, stunning topography and mountain eco-system. This new identity also inspired the new ‘RAKashida’ logo, which takes from the ‘kashida’ concept in Arabic calligraphy – a line that connects letters to form a word. Just as Arabic calligraphy gracefully flows, the RAKashida represents the Emirate’s three key natural elements and core values: the sea with its perpetual swelling and subsiding, the desert with its undulating dunes, and the mountains with their staggering elevations. The RAKashida also stands for the personalised tourism experiences that the destination offers, including a rich history, written by the hand of its ancestors. And, just like the Kashida connects letters to form a word, the RAKashida connects different worlds – and people.
To further bring the campaign to life and create cut through in an overcrowded market dominated by campaigns from leading destinations including Jordan, Egypt, Japan and Sri Lanka, the team also worked with global social brand Beautiful Destinations. Creating a series of premium teaser and hero destination videos and various journey cuts, the Authority was able appeal to a range of traveler preferences and audiences, also leveraging Beautiful Destinations’ digital platforms to reach millions of followers and amplify the campaign, generating over 7m views. The new positioning successfully captured the imagination of a growing segment of travelers, reaching 74% of the planned audience universe, over indexing against the industry target of 50-60%, and delivering a social engagement rate of over 62%, far above the benchmark average rate of 45-47%.
The award follows the recent announcement of Ras Al Khaimah’s comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy that will see the nature-based Emirate become the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025. Under the Strategy, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has committed to delivering authentic and high-quality sustainable tourism experiences which align with Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism brand as well as improve the quality of life and well-being of citizens and residents with a community-based approach and wellbeing focus. This will also underpin the nation’s commitment to contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.