Published on : Thursday, February 23, 2017
As Ras Al Khaimah becomes the UAE’s fastest growing tourism destination with 10.9% year-on-year growth in visitors in 2016, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has committed to further development of unique tourism products and events across the emirate.
In 2016, hotels in Ras Al Khaimah recorded a 10% increase in occupancy, reporting an average of 71% from January to December. Similar growth was posted across all key performance indicators with RevPAR increasing by 5.5% year-on-year, while Room Revenue grew 10%. The top five international markets last year for Ras Al Khaimah were Germany, UK, Russia, India and Kazakhstan. Overall, the direct contribution of tourism to GDP was AED1.07 billion (+5.7%).
Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, credits the growth in visitor numbers to the strategic initiatives, promotional activities, high profile events and tourism projects undertaken by the authority during 2016.
“We have focused on a series of significant developments to attract a wider range of travellers, including the opening of the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata,” Mattar said. “We also hosted a number of international sporting events and conferences last year. Collectively, our achievements stimulated increased visitor numbers from both established source markets and emerging ones.”
A key focus of RAKTDA’s tourism strategy includes rolling out policies and initiatives to support a recent partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, which sees Ras Al Khaimah serve as a sponsor of the United Nation’s Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Mattar said: “Ras Al Khaimah boasts a diverse array of natural landscapes that appeal to all kinds of visitors, whether its beach lovers, cultural enthusiasts, active adventurers or wellness seekers. Through a programme of careful development, we are intent on enhancing these attractions for the benefit of travellers and offering a sustainable tourism product pool that preserves the rich local culture and traditions that Ras Al Khaimah is known for.”
Other product developments in 2017 include the opening of the world’s longest zip line, the emirate’s first luxury camp and the launch of official cycling and hiking routes across the destination with a focus on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain peak.