Thomas Cook to open first own-brand hotel in the UAE

The Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort will include a 700-meter private beach and 253 chalets. (Courtesy Thomas Cook)
Updated 07 July 2017

Thomas Cook to open first own-brand hotel in the UAE

DUBAI: Thomas Cook will open its first own-brand hotel in the UAE later this year, the British global travel company said.
The Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort, which will open on November 1, is part of a partnership agreement Thomas Cook signed with the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority in 2016 to promote the emirate as a year-round destination particularly for European tourists.
The marketing deal been extended and will focus on key growth markets including UK, Germany, Nordics, Russia and Netherlands.
The opening of Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort marks further progress in Thomas Cook’s strategy to grow its portfolio of own-brand hotels, as part of an increased focus on higher quality holidays, the company said in a statement. The resort will have 253 chalets, a 700-meter private beach, three pools, four bars, a coffee shop, a buffet restaurant and a spa with sauna and jacuzzi.
Thomas Cook also plans to open 22 new own-brand hotels around the world over the next year.
“We are extremely pleased to continue to partner with Thomas Cook to promote Ras Al Khaimah. International visitors represent almost two thirds of the overall tourism to Ras Al Khaimah, with the UK and Germany being among the top 3 source markets. This partnership will continue to attract holidaymakers from Europe who seek great value beach holidays and authentic adventure and culture based experiences,” Haitham Mattar, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said.
“We are very excited to continue our successful partnership with Ras Al Khaimah. Through a fully integrated, multi-channel campaign across 8 of our markets, Ras Al Khaimah will reach and inspire the millions of holidaymakers that engage with us driving both awareness and visitation,” Stuart Adamson, the director of Thomas Cook Media & Partnerships Group said.


Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition

The dates produced in the region are renowned throughout the Kingdom and the world for their quality, and the lush greenery and cool weather have helped to make Al-Ahsa one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. (SPA)
Updated 10 October 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition

  • The oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees feeding on a huge aquifer through 280 artesian springs

RIYADH: People who live in and around Al-Ahsa Oasis reacted with joy and pride on Friday when it was revealed that Guinness World Records has recognized it as the largest self-contained oasis in the world.

The achievement was described as testament to the loving care and hard work that goes into maintaining the millions of palm trees that grow there. They cover an area of 32.9 square miles and are watered by a network of 280 artesian springs.
The dates produced in the region are renowned throughout the Kingdom and the world for their quality, and the lush greenery and cool weather have helped to make Al-Ahsa one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Mohammad Alkhudayri, a licensed tour guide in Al-Ahsa, said he hopes the recognition by such a renowned organization will inspire more people to visit the oasis and enjoy its beautiful scenery.
“The oasis of Al-Ahsa is more than 6,000 years old, and for all those years it has remained as vibrant and rich as ever,” he said. “Some of the trees are thousands of years old. It is only natural that such an achievement would be recognized, especially given the amount of love and effort that went into maintaining the area over all these years.”

The oasis of Al-Ahsa is more than 6,000 years old, and for all those years it has remained as vibrant and rich as ever. Some of the trees are thousands of years old.

Mohammad Alkhudayri, a licensed tour guide in Al-Ahsa

The number of fruit-bearing date palms in Al-Ahsa exceeds 2.5 million, Alkhudayri added. Many residents rely on them, and so are deeply devoted to their care.

Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)

“The people of Al-Ahsa are so proud of their date palms,” he said. “They provide them with sustenance and with something beautiful to look at. Even other parts of the tree, such as the trunk and the leaves, are used to make equipment, furniture, baskets and so on. For anyone in Al-Ahsa, date palms are vital to their way of life.”
Mohammad Almelhem, whose family owns and operates a date farm in Al-Ahsa, said that the palm trees are synonymous with Al-Ahsa, and that the dates they produce are “the best in the world.”
“We Hasawis have a deep relationship with our palms,” he said. “They are our greatest blessing and we look after them so that they will look after us.
“Our hard work ensures that you will never get a sweeter-tasting date anywhere, or find a more beautiful and peaceful place to grow or eat them.”
Almelhem also said he hopes that the recognition by Guinness World Records will encourage more people to visit the region, as it has so much to offer to offer tourists and yet its attractions are relatively unknown.
“The city is modernizing but there is still so much heritage here for people to discover,” he said. “Visitors are always surprised when they come because they don’t expect to see as much as they do.”
Al-Ahsa Oasis is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the Hegra in AlUla, the Turaif neighborhood in historic Diriyah, the historic Al-Balad district in Jeddah, and the rock art sites in Jubbah and Shuaimis in Hail.