Surge in visitor numbers makes RAK UAE's latest travel destination

Tourist numbers jumped 19 percent in 2017 and the Emirate expects to reach 2.5 annual visitors by 2025
Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA.
By Shayan Shakeel
Mon 05 Feb 2018 02:16 PM

Tourists are flocking to Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) as the Emirate works to develop facilities and works with partners to promote itself.

The Emirate’s Tourism Development Authority, RAKTDA, reported a 19 percent growth in number of tourists, marked by a significant increase in visitors from emerging markets.

The UAE still remains the most significant source market for RAK tourism, accounting for almost half all visitors, followed by those from Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and India – Russian visitor numbers in 2017 grew at 79 percent, while UK tourist numbers grew 16.8 percent in 2017.

Eastern Europe is proving to be a valuable source market as well: tourism from Poland surged 160 percent in 2017; the number of visitors from the Czech Republic increased by 51 percent.

"We are optimistic about reaching our goal of a million visitors by the end of 2018, and 2.9 million by the end of 2025. The particular focus we have placed on working with partners in emerging markets has been a great success and provided significant growth benefits," said Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA.

Growth in the number of tourists is prompting the RAKTDA to push for more growth in hotel rooms across the Emirate. Average occupancy in 2017 stood at 73.6 percent, up 3.5 percent in 2016, while the average length of stay has now reached 3.41 days.

RAKTDA is aiming to have 10,000 resort rooms in its portfolio by 2020, up from the 5,400 it currently has. The Authority is also working with Airbnb to regulate and increase the inventory of holiday homes tourists can avail.

"We have identified three key tourist segments beyond the traditional sun and sand holiday makers, namely active adventurers, cultural explorers and luxury indulgence and wellness seekers, and we look forward to 2018 and beyond. It is important we have the hotel offers and tourism products to continue the appeal of our destination to these audiences," Mattar added.

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