Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), the government body that develops the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, yesterday announced its consolidated results for the first three quarters of 2018. The organisation reported growth of 11.2% in international guests in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2017, with almost 795,000 guests choosing to stay in Ras Al Khaimah from January to September 2018 for a total of 2.53 million guest nights.
Double digit growth from international markets was led by Germany as the single largest source market with 64,372 visitors, up 4.1% on Q1-3 2017. This was followed by Russia, with 57,117 visitors – up a significant 36.5% on the same period in the previous year. The third largest source market was the UK, with 45,496 visitors, up 10.1 per cent; India was in fourth position with 44,734 visitors, up 16.1%; and rounding out the top five was Kazakhstan with 21,966 visitors, up 26.9%.
In terms of market growth, Norway saw the largest percentage increase in visitors, up 41.5% on the first three quarters of 2017, with Nordic neighbours Sweden and Denmark also showing increased interest in the emirate, with guest numbers up 27.7% and 19.3% respectively.
Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism indices were up across the board – with visitor satisfaction at 94%, above targets of 90%, and average length of stay at 3.19 days. The emirate recorded regional success, with the second highest revenue per available room (RevPAR) at AED402.2 (US$109.6), the third highest Daily Room Rate (ADR) at AED581.6 (US$158.5) and a steady average occupancy rate for the first 9 months of the year at 69.1%.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “With international tourism arrivals to the Emirate up to 11.2%, we are confident of meeting our 2018 visitor targets. In fact, we are preparing to launch our New Destination Strategy in Q4 and we’re targeting further growth – with a goal of attracting three million visitors by 2025. We will achieve this by investing heavily in developing our attractions and adventure offerings, combined with bringing the world’s best luxury hotel experiences to Ras Al Khaimah. With our pristine beaches, scenic mountains and year-round sunshine –all just 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport – we deliver real value for money and provide a compelling proposition for international and regional visitors.”
One of Ras Al Khaimah’s key growth milestones in 2018 was the launch of Jebel Jais Flight- the world’s longest zipline on Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE. This put Ras Al Khaimah on the global map as it broke the world record and strengthened the emirate’s credentials as the fastest growing adventure tourism destination in the region. Another key factor in the growing popularity of the emirate was a calendar of world-class events, and the increase in international partnerships with travel trade through the opening of overseas offices and a series of trade roadshows throughout the year.
Mattar added: “We have identified new creative and interactive marketing campaigns this year that have taken our promotional approaches to new heights. This includes the recently launched virtual experience of Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline in London, using augmented reality to give adventure-seekers a chance to experience Jebel Jais Flight while they also fly the world’s longest city centre zipwire in the heart of London.”
Ras Al Khaimah has identified supply of new hotel rooms as a major focus to support the increasing popularity of the destination with international and domestic tourists. The emirate is preparing to add 5,000 rooms to the 6,500 currently available with the confirmed introduction of major global brands including Marriott, Movenpick, Sheraton, Anantara, Rezidor, Intercontinental, Hampton by Hilton over the next three years.
Mattar concluded: “We will continue implementing our ambitious plans to further develop and enhance the Jebel Jais experience, with a new addition- the 47 villa Luxury Mountain Camp that will break ground next year, adding to the existing attractions of the world’s longest zipline, and Via Ferrata as well as breath-taking scenery. We will also reveal the completion of unique projects including the Survival Training Academy and 64.72km of Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails to be opened in the next two years.”
So far in 2018, RAKTDA hosted 237 travel trade members from 18 countries. RAKTDA also participated in nine exhibitions in nine cities across six countries, reaching out to over 300 travel trade members worldwide. RAKTDA also facilitated roadshows in 69 Cities in 20 countries, engaging with 7,419 travel trade members.
RAKTDA further reported that summer 2018 visitors were up 15.8%. The increase in summer visitors, particularly from international markets shows the popularity of Ras Al Khaimah is increasing during summer months due to the world class facilities and value for money.