Ras al-Khaimah Hotels & Tourism Development Authority plans to spend “hundreds of millions of dollars” to implement a tourism masterplan for the emirate.

A decree issued by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi last week has outlined plans for the growth of tourism in the emirate. In the coming years, tourism is forecast to contribute 15-20 per cent of the emirate’s GDP.

One of the biggest under way is to develop a masterplan that will involve building eight separate resorts in the mountains. Each resort will have between 80 and 100 rooms when complete. The government has already built the main road up to the top of the mountain that will be the main access route to the resorts.

Victor Luis, chief operating officer of Hotels & Tourism Development Authority, says he expects to see the first hotels there by about 2014. Luis says that reviews of the masterplan should be complete by the end of 2011.

The authority is also in the process of buying the Banyan Tree Resort & Spa from its original developer Rakeen.

The largest markets for Ras al-Khaimah currently are the UK, Germany and Scandinavia.