Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) was recognized at the 2022 Transform Awards MEA, taking home top honors, including two gold places at the annual celebration of the best and most transformative brand work in the Middle East & Africa.
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and strategic brand partner Sputnik Floyd were recognized by industry experts for the highly successful and impactful launch of its tourism brand vision and identity in 2021 with two gold awards for ‘Best Place or Nation Brand’ and ‘Best Visual Identity for the Travel and Tourism Sector’, silver for ‘Best Creative Strategy’ and bronze for ‘Best Visual Identity for the Public Sector. Established to acknowledge best practices in corporate, product, and global brand development work, the Transform Awards reward excellence across the entire brand development process, from creativity to strategic planning, and act as a benchmark for branding and reputational change in the region.
Building on the foundation of the Emirate’s stunning natural landscape, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority’s new vision and destination brand redefined the Emirate’s narrative and clearly articulated what Ras Al Khaimah stood for in the new era of post-pandemic travel. Led by an integrated campaign that translated into immediate tangible benefits, the reimagined brand brought to life the destination’s ability to offer the perfect travel experience for the new normal.
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, commented: “It’s great to see our innovation and creativity being recognized by Transform MEA. The travel and tourism industry has been through a period of unprecedented disruption over the past couple of years. Against this backdrop, we understood the need to re-imagine tourism and our Emirate’s place within it. Today’s travelers are looking to go beyond the traditional holiday experience, seeking new, fulfilling experiences where they can immerse themselves in the destination and gain a sense of purpose in travel. Our new brand and positioning played a significant role in the Emirate’s bounce back; we welcomed just under 1 million visitors last year, returning to almost pre-pandemic levels faster than any other destination in the region.”
Alka Winter, Vice President, Destination Marketing & Communications, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “What makes this recognition important is that the tourism community in Ras Al Khaimah were not only behind this new vision, but they helped in its co-creation with insights and support.” Adding, “I’ve seen the rollout of our new destination brand in many markets first-hand, in-person and despite any cultural nuances, language barriers, etc., everyone understood what the destination stood for from the visceral nature of the logo representing nature to stunning visual material from leading digital content makers.”
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. 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 Emirate’s 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 of mountain, and sea desert. The RAKashida also stands for the personalized 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.
Launched at Arabian Travel Market in 2021, the team also worked with the global social brand Beautiful Destinations. Creating a series of premium teaser and hero destination videos and various journey cuts, 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. Through leveraging Beautiful Destinations’ digital platforms to reach millions of followers and amplify the campaign, the Authority was able to appeal to a range of traveler preferences and audiences. 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 robust social engagement rate, far above the benchmark average.