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RAK records double-digit visitor growth in H1

RAS AL KHAIMAH, July 22, 2018

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced a 14 per cent increase in international visitors during the first six months of the year.

This is ahead of the UNWTO forecast of 4 per cent tourism growth in the Middle East in H1 and demonstrates the ongoing strength of Ras Al Khaimah as an emerging tourism destination. 

International markets accounted for 66 per cent of visitor arrivals from January to June 2018, with a significant increase in Russian visitors, up 50 per cent year-on-year. Germany remained the second biggest source market, up 4 per cent, followed by the UK with an increase of 13 per cent on 2017.  The Nordic region also remained strong, seeing 21.3 per cent growth since the start of the year, emerging markets continued their upward trajectory with Czech Republic up 34 per cent, Kazakhstan up 22.1 per cent, and Poland up 6.3 per cent versus that same period last year. In the region, overall growth from the GCC increased 4.6 per cent with visitors from Saudi Arabia now topping the arrivals list. 

The first half of the year saw the expansion of adventure tourism activities in what is fast becoming known as the region’s adventure tourism hub and recently awarded the World Travel Award for Middle East’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination 2018.

Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline welcomed over 10,000 riders with phase two launching at the end of this year featuring an additional zipline cable to enhance capacity together with an adventure park. In response to growing visitor numbers, further development is planned including a 37 room Luxury Mountain Camp expected in December 2019; a Survival Training Academy due for completion in Q3 2019 and 64.72km of Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails opening next year. 

Hotel performance also remained strong in the first half of the year with occupancy rates consistent at 73.3 per cent and average room rate increasing 5.5 per cent versus the same period last year.

Supply of hotel keys is a major focus moving forward to support the increasing popularity of the destination with both international and domestic tourists.  Plans are already in place to add 5,600 rooms to the 6,500 currently available in the emirate with the introduction of major global brands including Marriott, Movenpick, Sheraton, Anantara, Rezidor, Intercontinental, Hampton by Hilton and Crowne Plaza over the next three years. The aim is to further grow to over 12,000 hotel rooms by 2022 to accommodate the ever-growing number of visitors.   

Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “With international arrivals to the emirate rising by 14 per cent in the first half of the year, we are on track to exceed our projection of 1 million visitors by the end of the year. Our focus remains on sustainable development with new products and accommodation to meet the growing demand. This will form an integral part of our Destination 2019-2021 strategy which will be released in Q4.” 

“Jebel Jais remains core to our proposition as we look to capitalise on the global adventure tourism industry and secure further interest from investors in this growing segment. With the right investment and the use of best practice to develop sustainable tourism, we envision a globally recognised destination attracting 3 million visitors and contributing Dh3.5 billion ($952.8 million) to the emirate’s GDP by 2025,” Mattar added. 

RAKTDA is also further strengthening its Mice, sports and events offer in 2018 and beyond. The first half of the year saw the first Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) hosted in Ras Al Khaimah and last week RAKTDA announced that the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) will bring delegates from the UK for their annual conference in November.  Prestigious global sporting events are also increasingly being attracted to the emirate with the recent announcement that Ras Al Khaimah will host the Grand Final of the European Tour Challenge Tour - also known as The Road to Ras Al Khaimah - at the end of October, marking a significant milestone for golf in the emirate. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Ras Al Khaimah | visitors |

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