Ras Al Khaimah plans new attractions to build on 2016 tourism growth

Ras Al Khaimah will open the world’s longest zip line and launch official cycling and hiking routes across the emirate, with a focus on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain peak during 2017 as it looks to build on growing tourist numbers.

The emirate's tourism authority said the diverse array of natural landscapes appeal to all walks of visitor, whether its beach-seekers, active adventurers or wellness seekers.

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) said visitors to the emirate rose by 10.9 percent year-on-year in 2016.

Hotels across the region’s fastest emerging tourism destination recorded a 10 percent increase in occupancy, an average of 71 percent from January to December last year.

Similar growth was posted across all key performance indicators with revenue per available room (RevPAR) increasing by 5.5 percent while room revenue grew 10 percent.

The authority also said that the emirate’s accommodation portfolio registered four percent growth in average length of stay, rising from 3.19 days in 2015 to 3.32 days last year.

“The continued growth in visitor numbers to Ras Al Khaimah reflects the strategic initiatives and promotional activities undertaken by the authority in domestic and international source markets during 2016,” said Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA.

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Internationally, Ras Al Khaimah’s four largest source markets each recorded double digit year-on-year growth in 2016, with German visitors up 24.6 percent last year and now contributing one in 10 of all visitors to the emirate.

The UK, Russia and India also reported similar visitor increases of 35 percent, 19.5 percent and 28 percent, respectively, RAKTDA said, adding that emerging destinations that showed significant growth last year included Kazakhstan, Egypt, the Philippines, and Czech Republic.

As part of the tourism authority’s overseas developments, RAKTDA has recently launched a new Chinese representation office in Shanghai.

“China is evolving into a vitally important source market for Ras Al Khaimah... We are optimistic that through focused efforts and participation of various roadshows and trade events, China will continue to develop in coming years,” Mattar said.

He added: “Ras Al Khaimah boasts a diverse array of natural landscapes that appeal to all walks of visitor, whether its beach-seekers, 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 which preserves the rich local culture and traditions that Ras Al Khaimah is known for.”

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