Friday 22 February 2019

RAK visitor numbers up 19pc

RAS AL KHAIMAH, February 4, 2018

Ras Al Khaimah, the fourth largest emirate in the UAE, reported a growth of 19 per cent in the overall number of tourists, with a substantial increase from emerging markets, said a report.

The UAE remains the most significant source market for tourism, accounting for almost half the visitors to Ras al-Khaimah in 2017, however, growth from international markets was also apparent, said a report in WAM.

Germany, Russia, UK and India, respectively, were Ras al-Khaimah’s largest sources, with the number of visitors from Russia increasing 79 per cent from 2016. The UK also saw solid visitor growth of 16.8 per cent in 2017.

The year also saw emerging market growth, particularly amongst visitors from Eastern European countries. Inbound tourism from Poland was up 160 per cent from 2016, and the number of visitors from the Czech Republic increased by 51 per cent.

Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, said: "With tourism arrivals to the emirate rising 19 per cent year-on-year, we are optimistic about reaching our goal of a million visitors by the end of 2018, and 2.9 million by the end of 2025. The particular focus we have placed on working with partners in emerging markets has been a great success and provided significant growth benefits."

Hotel occupancies also performed well in 2017, with the average occupancy throughout the year at 73.6 per cent a growth of 3.5 per cent compared to 2016. The average length of stay also grew by 2.7 per cent to 3.41 days.

The increased demand highlights the need for more hotel rooms and RAKTDA has plans to grow its current resort portfolio from just over 5,400 rooms to more than 10,000 by the end of 2020. The authority recently signed a MoU with Airbnb to regulate and increase the inventory of holiday homes.

"We have identified three key tourist segments beyond the traditional sun and sand holiday makers, namely active adventurers, cultural explorers and luxury indulgence and wellness seekers, and we look forward to 2018 and beyond. It is important we have the hotel offers and tourism products to continue the appeal of our destination to these audiences," Mattar added.

One of the RAKTDA key growth areas in 2017 was the development of its adventure tourism products in and around Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain. Earning plaudits as one of the most thrilling experiences in the UAE, the trekking and climbing routes were also shortlisted for "Innovation of the Year" at the highly acclaimed Adventure Travel Awards.

The year also saw the development of Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline, which opened to the public last week. The new viewing deck park will also be completed soon, as it is close to the summit of Jebel Jais, and plans are in place for 2018 for a luxury mountain camp, as well as the construction of cycling and hiking routes, the report said.

Tags: RAK | numbers | Visitor |

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