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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

RAK first half international visitor numbers rise 14% as adventure tourism picks up 

Hotels performance also remained strong in the first half of the year with occupancy rates consistent at 73.3 per cent

Number of international visitors to Ras Al Khaimah rose 14 per cent during the first half of this year as adventure tourism in the northern emirate continues to grow. Courtesy: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.(RAKTDA)
Number of international visitors to Ras Al Khaimah rose 14 per cent during the first half of this year as adventure tourism in the northern emirate continues to grow. Courtesy: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.(RAKTDA)

Ras Al Khaimah, one of the rapidly emerging tourism markets in the UAE, said on Sunday the number of international visitors has risen by 14 per cent during the first half of this year as adventure tourism in the northern emirate continued to grow.

The expansion conformably beats the World Tourism Organisation’s 4 per cent tourism growth forecast for the wider Middle East region in the first six months of 2018, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), the government body responsible for the development of the sector, said in a statement. It did not give the exact number of the tourists visiting the emirate or the figures for the corresponding period.

“We are on track to exceed our projection of 1 million visitors by the end of the year,” Haitham Mattar, the chief executive of RAKTDA, said. “With the right investment ….. we envision a globally recognised destination attracting 3 million visitors and contributing Dh3.5 billion to the Emirate’s GDP [gross domestic product] by 2025.”

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Ras Al Khaimah, which lacks the abundance of hydrocarbon resources, is developing, trade, tourism and hospitality sectors to boost its economy. It is focusing on sustainable development to meet the growing demands of tourism and is aggressively promoting the emirate in international markets to further increase the visitors’ numbers. The emirate is on track to unveil its ‘Destination 2019-2021’ strategy in the fourth quarter of this year.

International tourists accounted for 66 per cent of all visitor arrivals from January to June period this year, with a significant increase in Russian market, 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 the corresponding period in 2017, RAKTDA said. In the region, overall growth from the Arabian Gulf countries increased by 4.6 per cent with visitors from Saudi Arabia now topping the regional arrivals list.

Hotels performance also remained strong in the first half of the year with occupancy rates consistent at 73.3 per cent and average room rates rising 5.5 per cent over the same period last year. Supply of hotel keys is a major focus for the emirate and plans are in place to add 5,600 rooms to the 6,500 currently available. Ras Al Khaimah aims to further grow the number of keys to more than 12,000 by 2022, it added.

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