Ras Al Khaimah Reports 18 Per Cent Increase in UK Visitors in the First Quarter Versus 2017
- RAKTDA has announced the Emirate’s highest hotel occupancies in a quarter for Q1 2018, averaging 79.4% up 4% versus Q1 2017
- 12% increase in visitors versus Q1 2017 puts the Emirate firmly on target for 1 million visitors by end 2018
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), the government body that develops the Emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, has announced the Emirate’s highest hotel occupancies in a quarter for Q1 2018, averaging 79.4% up 4% versus Q1 2017. The figures which are up 3.7% versus the same period in 2017 have been driven by ever growing visitor numbers in the region’s fastest growing tourism destination.
Overall visitor numbers increased by 12% in the first quarter versus 2017. This was largely driven by growth from international markets, which rose 18% year-on-year and now account for 70% of the total visitor arrivals to the Emirate. The UK performed particularly strongly up 18% year on year, an 8.4% increase in the market share of international visitors. These figures reinforce Ras Al Khaimah’s position as one to watch on the global stage, with Q1 progress well above the UNWTO forecasted global tourism growth of 4% in 2018.
The news was shared at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) which was hosted in Ras Al Khaimah for the first time this year. Hotel performance indicators in the Emirate also continued their upward trajectory with the average length of stay increasing to 3.7 days year-to-date, an increase of 4.5% versus 2017, marking positive news for investors and hotel operators at AHIC.
The increased demand highlights the need for more hotel rooms and RAKTDA plans to grow its current resort portfolio from just over 5400 rooms to more than 10,000 by the end of 2020. Already, it is confirmed that 4,500 rooms will be added by the end of 2020 including the 5 star Anantara Resort at Mina Al Arab; the 5 star Avani Resort at Al Marjan Island; the 4 star Marriott Rak Beach at Al Ma’areedh; the 4-star Park Inn Rezidor at Al Marjan Island and the 4-star Rayhan Rotana at Khuzam. Al Marjan Island is also anticipated to have 15 hotels by 2025 and is a key focus for investment at AHIC, in addition to other beach, city and mountain clusters across the Emirate.
RAKTDA is also working on the development of a luxury camp project in Jebel Jais and is in talks with hotel operators and investors for this unique, eco-tourism project which complements the array of adventure tourism attractions that the Emirate is becoming globally known for.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA said: We’ve had a strong start to the year which is important as we look towards our goal of 1 million visitors by the end of 2018 and 2.9 million by 2025. Our hotel performance is a key indicator of our propensity to grow and with record hotel occupancies recorded in Q1 we need to continue our focus on meeting increased visitor demand with a broader range of accommodation.”
“With a number of prestigious, international brands opening hotels in Ras Al Khaimah in the run up to 2020 we are continuing to grow our tourism sector infrastructure and working with property and product developers to attract further investment. There is huge potential in the Emirate for entities looking to develop resorts, niche accommodation options and new tourism products and hosting AHIC this year will give us an opportunity to show delegates the incredible diversity of our offer.”
Developing tourism product remains an ongoing focus in the Emirate. The first quarter of 2018 saw the opening of Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline which is helping to propel Ras Al Khaimah into the major league of global adventure tourism across the globe as well as cement Jebel Jais as the region’s capital of outdoor adventure sports. The zipline has already welcomed 5,000 visitors since opening and RAKTDA is planning to launch phase two to visitors in the third quarter of 2018. This will feature two new cables and will increase the capacity of the Jebel Jais Flight to 400 people per day, around 200,000 per year. In addition, night time ziplining will commence this summer, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy a different experience whereby Jebel Jais is 10 degrees cooler than sea level. Further plans are in place for 2018 including the opening of official cycling and hiking routes on the mountains.
RAKTDA also continues to focus on strengthening its sports, events and MICE offer which includes hosting AHIC and The World Travel Awards for the very first time. The Happiness Festival in February attracted more than 30,000 visitors, while the Emirate is due to stage another concert on Jebel Jais on the 4-5 May following the huge success of Vivaldianno – the UAE’s first live classical music concert at 1600 metres – which was held last October. 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 season at the end of October, marking a significant milestone for golf in the UAE. The aptly named ‘Road to Rak’ will join other major sporting events in the destination calendar including the RAK Half Marathon in February which saw hotel bookings from participants increase by 35% year on year, and the RAK stage of the international Dubai Tour cycling race which was in its second successful year in 2018.
Notes to Editors:
About Ras Al Khaimah
One of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations, Ras Al Khaimah boasts a rich culture and long-standing history dating back 7,000 years. The Emirate boasts an array of archaeological sites and breath-taking natural vistas, from golden sand beaches, awe-inspiring terracotta dunes and a green belt of date palms to Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE.
To learn more about Ras Al Khaimah, visit us at:
About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA)
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to achieve target growth of one million visitors by the end of 2018, the authority aims to develop the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the Ras Al Khaimah TDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.
For further information, please contact:
Asda’a Burson Marsteller
T: +971 (4) 4507600
E: [email protected]
Director of Corporate Communications & Public Relations, RAKTDA
T: +971 (0)7 233 8998
E: [email protected]