TRAVEL TRADE MENA: Should travellers visiting Ajman seek to experience the emirate’s natural wonders, where are the main attractions you recommend them to go?
SALEH MOHAMED AL GEZIRY: The Al Zorah Mangrove Reserve has recently been officially declared a Wetland of International Importance by Ramsar Convention. At one million m2 it offers visitors the opportunity to explore one of the region’s most prized natural mangroves, home to over 102 species of native and migratory birds, including the famed pink flamingoes that can be spotted throughout the year.
We also offer Kayak Tours through the mangroves and lagoons which is an unrivalled experience, and there is also an abundance of watersports available from wakeboarding to jet skis at Al Zorah’s Marina 1.
The area is abundant with a variety of corals, fish, molluscs and indigenous flora, making it a highly sought-after destination for tourists, especially nature lovers. There is also, of course, the natural landscape of Ajman, its beautiful desert with tour excursions on offer, and many hiking and cycling experiences within the Masfout Mountains. Here an old castle and other ancient treasures can also be found.
Whether it will be cycling through the mountains, camping under the desert stars or kayaking on our lagoons, there is plenty to connect visitors to nature here.
TRAVEL TRADE MENA: What differentiates Ajman’s natural beauty from the other emirates?
SALEH MOHAMED AL GEZIRY: Aside from the world-class hotels and resorts, beautiful coastline and sandy beaches, tourists come to experience the unspoilt and rugged beauty of the Al Zorah mangroves, Hajar Mountains and natural landscapes found at Masfout and Manama.
TRAVEL TRADE MENA: What new facilities and nature attractions were launched throughout 2017?
SALEH MOHAMED AL GEZIRY: We now offer watersports as well as kayaking, wakeboarding and paddle boats. Other new attractions launched for tourists to enjoy include the Pearl Diving Dhow Tour, where guides explain the history and importance of UAE pearl diving, and the seaplane which flies daily from Al Zorah, Marina 1.
There are also a multitude of heritage sites, souks and malls to explore when visiting Ajman.
TRAVEL TRADE MENA: What are your priorities going forward to attract more tourists to Ajman?
SALEH MOHAMED AL GEZIRY: Ajman Tourism Development Department is very active when promoting the emirate and its attractions around the globe. We take part at travel trade exhibitions, roadshows and overseas activities, to network extensively with travel trade professionals and tour operators, delivering a comprehensive marketing strategy.
We are an attractive destination for leisure travellers, as well as growing our market share within the cultural, eco-tourism, business and sports
TRAVEL TRADE MENA: Concerning tourist arrivals, how successful was the last quarter of 2017 for Ajman?
SALEH MOHAMED AL GEZIRY: We had favourable numbers during the last quarter of 2017 and this upward trajectory reflects figures for the whole of last year.
The emirate achieved impressive tourist number growth during the first three quarters of 2017, reaching 393,000, with an 8.5 percent occupancy rate increase on the same period during 2016, taking the total to 74 percent. These results were a huge boost to our tourist revenues, which amounted to more than AED312 million (USD85 million).
TRAVEL TRADE MENA: Which are Ajman’s main feeder markets?
SALEH MOHAMED AL GEZIRY: Ajman welcomed a huge number of international tourists during the first nine months of 2017. Just 22 percent of tourists to Ajman were from the UAE, 33 percent came from the Arab region, and 45 percent were from Europe, Asia, Africa and the US.
The Arab market will always remain a core category for us but with new industry developments, such as 30-day visas on arrival for Russians, we are capitalising on these opportunities.
We are also focussing on European, African and Asian markets through marketing strategies which, with the steady increase of numbers, is proving to be effective. Lastly, the recent promotional activities we have undertaken overseas, notably across the GCC, Russia, and Germany, are paying dividends.