Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced a 14 percent increase in international visitors during the first six months of the year.
The tourism authority said this is ahead of the UNWTO forecast of 4 percent tourism growth in the Middle East anddemonstrates the ongoing strength of Ras Al Khaimah as an emerging tourism destination.
International markets accounted for 66 percent of visitor arrivals from January to June, with significant growth in Russian visitors, up 50 percent year-on-year.
Germany remained the second biggest source market, up 4 percent, followed by the UK with an increase of 13 percent on 2017.
The Nordic region also remained strong, seeing 21.3 percent growth since the start of the year, emerging markets continued their upward trajectory with Czech Republic up 34 percent, Kazakhstan up 22.1 percent, and Poland up 6.3 percent versus that same period last year.
In the region, overall growth from the GCC increased 4.6 percent with visitors from Saudi Arabia now topping the arrivals list.
The first half of the year saw the expansion of adventure tourism activities as Jebel Jais Flight, the world’s longest zipline, welcomed over 10,000 riders with phase two launching at the end of this year featuring an additional zipline cable.
Further development is planned including a 37 room luxury mountain camp expected in December 2019; a survival training academy due for completion in Q3 2019 and 64.72km of hiking and mountain biking trails opening next year.
Hotel performance also remained strong in the first half of the year with occupancy rates consistent at 73.3 percent and average room rate increasing 5.5 percent versus the same period last year.
The aim is to further grow to over 12,000 hotel rooms by 2022 to accommodate the ever-growing number of visitors.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “With international arrivals to the emirate rising by 14 percent in the first half of the year, we are on track to exceed our projection of 1 million visitors by the end of the year.
"Our focus remains on sustainable development with new products and accommodation to meet the growing demand. This will form an integral part of our Destination 2019-2021 strategy which will be released in Q4.”
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