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For Ras Al Khaimah, all publicity is good publicity

The emirate is happy that despite being denied the chance to host the America Cup, it has at least become famous.

March 4, 2010 3:10 by

Ras Al Khaimah suddenly came into spotlight last year when it was announced that the UAE emirate would be hosting the America Cup sailing competition in February 2010. However, after the emirate said it had pumped $120 million on infrastructure in preparation for the event, a court in New York ruled that RAK can’t host the Cup.

But according to Khater Massaad, CEO of RAK Investment Authority, the emirate only made a loss of $2 million from the fiasco, and in return also received some much needed publicity.
“We invested in total $15 million,” he told Arabian Business. “Of that, we’ve been refunded $5m by [Swiss racing team] Alinghi. The remaining $10 million was [spent] on infrastructure, but things that we needed to do anyway,” he said. “The loss did not exceed $2 million.”

Massaad said that RAK and Alinghi were “shocked” by the way things worked out. “But it brought so much attention to Ras Al Khaimah, people know us now. Whether good or bad, they know. And as long as they speak about you, it’s always good.”

In the past, the global perception of the UAE was largely based on Dubai’s loud PR stunts. But thanks to the financial crisis and tourist attractions like F1, Abu Dhabi has gained more prominence on world stage. These two emirates obviously tower over the others in terms of trade and tourism, but the ‘rest’ are trying to catch up as well.

However, it is still surprising to see RAK taking so well to the not-so-agreeable fame. After all, the ‘any publicity is good publicity’ attitude is certainly not very popular in this region (just ask Dubai).

But was the exposure worth $2 million? We doubt it.

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