AJMAN // Picturesque beaches, dramatic deserts and mountains, historic forts and year-round sunshine will help Ajman’s new tourism bosses put the emirate on the global holiday map, they say.
The Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) was formed last year to bring the emirate into line with tourism in the rest of the UAE, and it has jumped into the task.
“We are not competing with anyone, we are only complementing each other as we are all one working for our country,” said Sheikh Faisal Al Nuaimi, general manager of the department.
“ATDD have started doing maintenance to the forts and castles in Masfoot and Manama mountain areas.
“Then we also have Al Zorah project and our museum, built in 1856, that are already supplementing these potentials.”
The department was established by order of the Ajman Ruler, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi.
Ajman is well known for its untouched beaches and mangrove wetlands, and is only a 30-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, putting it well within reach of international tourists.
Traditionally, its visitors have come from Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The emirate has two five-star hotels, the Ajman Palace and the Ajman Kempinski, both on the Corniche. Two more are due to open in the area soon.
Christian Huschka, the executive assistant manager of the Ajman Palace, which opened in December last year, said the department would play a crucial role in the success of the hotels.
“Tourists have to know about Ajman and want to visit Ajman before they can choose a hotel here to stay in,” Mr Huschka said.
Work on the Dh4 billion Al Zorah project, comprising four resorts, is expected to be completed in 2015.
Ajman, the smallest emirate, has 31 hotels with a total of 2,500 rooms. Last year they had 290,000 guests, generating Dh124 million.
Seventy big-name restaurant chains are also setting up in Ajman, said Sheikh Faisal.
ATDD has published a pocket guide in English for visitors and is taking part in international tourism exhibitions for greater exposure to the world’s travellers.
All tour operators and hotels must have work permits issued by the ATDD, which is also consulting with more established tourism authorities for advice.
A committee has been formed to generate ideas for a unique annual event that could be held in the emirate, Sheikh Faisal said.