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Ras Al Khaimah on the rise for international destination seekers

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAK TDA) reported another strong month of growth in its July 2016 tourism figures, reflecting the emirate’s rising position as a premier tourism destination for international travellers.

Compared to 2015 figures:
• Visitor arrivals grew by 7%, from Jan—July 2016.
• Total guest nights grew by 15.2% over the same period in 2015.
• Average length of stay in the emirate’s hotels increased by 13%.
• Hotel occupancy grew 15% to a 70.1% occupancy across Ras Al Khaimah’s hotels.
• RevPar grew by 7.6%.
• Room revenue grew by 10.6%.  

Compared to last year, tourism from Europe to Ras Al Khaimah has grown by 45%, led by strong growth from Germany and the UK. In fact, UK visitor arrivals has grown by 33.2% over 2015 and the number of nights that Brits stay at Ras Al Khaimah’s hotels has increased by 25.6%.

Other top source markets for Ras Al Khaimah include the UAE, Russia and Scandinavia. While European visitors accounted for more than 60% of Ras Al Khamah’s international hotel guests, the emirate continues to diversify its source markets, among them China and India. As a result, RAK TDA is well on its way of attracting one million visitors to the emirate by the end of 2018.

“This time last year, we had just embarked on a transformational 12 months for Ras Al Khaimah”, said Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAK TDA. “We released the first ‘Tourism Strategy’ for the emirate: a three-year roadmap for delivering our new vision, and since then have made impressive strides in initiating strategic partnerships with airlines and tour operators over the last 12 months. Specifically, collaborations were signed with major European tour operators including FTI, Thomas Cook and TUI, along with Cox and Kings in India and Ctrip in China. We also partnered with global airlines including Emirates, Qatar Airways, flydubai and Air Arabia, and new representation offices were opened in the UK, India and Russia, while further offices are planned for China and Saudi Arabia in Q4 2016. The strategy of diversifying our source markets is one of the key factors explaining our growth as shown by the latest tourism figures.”

With access to 64 kilometres of pristine beaches and a unique terracotta desert located just 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport, Ras Al Khaimah’s hotels and resorts continue to grow from strength to strength. The destination currently offers over 5,000 rooms across 41 properties, with more than 3,000 rooms in the pipeline across 12 properties by 2018. Hotel capacity in the emirate is expected to increase to 20,000 rooms by 2025, many of which will be on Al Marjan Island, a stunning archipelago encompassing an area of 2.7 million square metres and extending 4.5 km into the sea.

A new tourism strategy will help to boost visitor numbers from a wide range of source markets even more. Mattar said: “We have implemented a new leadership structure to deliver on our strategy, and we are working in close partnership with our hotel and government stakeholders. We have gained considerable momentum, and this will only continue as we focus our efforts investing in our tourism offering, which emphasises Ras Al Khaimah’s natural assets, luxurious indulgence and range of activities for different type of travelers, complemented by our authentic Arabian history, heritage and culture.”

As part of further efforts to enhance the destination, RAK TDA is investing in world-class events and tourism products in 2016. Opening this year will be a series of new tourism products centred on Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE, including a Via Ferrata, soon-to-be world’s longest zipline and a 5-star mountain camp and viewing deck, as well as a busy calendar of sporting, leisure, cultural and business events.

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