IFTIKHAR HAMDANI: Ajman has something to offer for all types of nature lovers – it has pristine beaches, natural mangroves with diverse ecology, stunning desert landscapes, and beautiful views of the mountain range at Masfout. An advantage for Ajman is that it is not too far from sites which also provide excellent dining and leisure options for friends and families, including the new Al Zorah Marina and Al Zorah Pavilion, where you can even watch flamingos while dining.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the most important factors that differentiate Ajman from other emirates when it comes to nature and wildlife?
IFTIKHAR HAMDANI: Ajman is not exactly among the first places that come to mind when you talk about nature and wildlife. However, that notion is gradually being transformed with the opening of new attractions. As the UAE's smallest emirate, Ajman has the advantage of proximity for nature and wildlife attractions. You can go from the beach to the mangroves after a short 15-minute journey.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What new facilities and nature attractions have entered Ajman?
IFTIKHAR HAMDANI: In terms of facilities and attractions, Al Zorah has recently introduced a wide range of watersports activities, including kayaking, wakeboarding, and more.Our Ramada Private Beach at Ajman Corniche also has its own rental facilities for watersports, including jet ski and kayak.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your priorities going forward to attract more guests to Ajman?
IFTIKHAR HAMDANI: Our priority at the moment is the opening of our hotel – the 179-key Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche, which is set to accommodate the growing demand for leisure and corporate travellers, including nature lovers and adventure seekers. The team has been actively promoting the new property at different exhibitions and roadshows within and outside the Middle East, and is heavily targeting European markets.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How successful was 2017 for your operations?
IFTIKHAR HAMDANI: Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman and Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman performed well throughout 2017, closing with an average occupancy of 91 percent, and 93 percent, respectively, and selling a combined room nights of more than 155,000.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Where are the majority of your guests coming from?
IFTIKHAR HAMDANI: Our main feeder market still remains as Russia, the CIS, Eastern Europe and Germany. However, we have also witnessed increased arrivals from Scandinavia and the Baltic region.