AITO chairman, Derek Moore, said: “For 2018 we wanted to steer a middle path.
“In 2016 our conference was built around the world-famous icon that is Petra; in 2017 we headed for the Alentejo, a little-known region of Portugal.
“Both conference destinations proved highly successful, so for 2018 we debated whether the conference should be held somewhere iconic or somewhere unknown.
“Instead, we have chosen to offer a tale of the unexpected.
“The United Arab Emirates 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.”
AITO delegates will fly in to Dubai and transfer to their accommodation in the centre of Ras Al Khaimah, choosing either the five-star Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa overlooking the beach, or the recently-remodelled four-star Hilton Garden Inn – also the setting for the conference – which is slightly closer to the town and offers views across the inland waterway.
Haitham Mattar, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority commented: “We are delighted to host the AITO overseas conference in Ras Al Khaimah this year.
“With our world class resorts both on our beautiful coastline and inland and abundance of cultural events and outdoor adventure pursuits, we believe that Ras Al Khaimah will be an entirely new and interesting destination for delegates to experience, and one that offers a truly authentic taste of the UAE.”
AITO’s overseas conference is aimed at business owners and senior managers, whether they’re running a travel agency or a tour operation, as well as affiliate business partners and tourist offices.
Featuring a mixture of inspiring speakers and breakout events, the business sessions aim to provide a thought-provoking day and a half, interlinked with evening events at exciting local venues.