Ras Al Khaimah Focuses on Tourism Product Development as International Visitors Increase by 14%

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority announced a 14% increase in international visitors during the first six months of the year. This is ahead of the UNWTO forecast of 4% tourism growth in the Middle East in H1 and demonstrates the ongoing strength of Ras Al Khaimah as an emerging tourism destination.

International markets accounted for 66% of visitor arrivals from January to June 2018, with significant increase in Russian visitors, up 50% year-on-year. Germany remained the second biggest source market, up 4%, followed by the UK with an increase of 13% on 2017. The Nordic region also remained strong, seeing 21.3% growth since the start of the year, emerging markets continued their upward trajectory with Czech Republic up 34%, Kazakhstan up 22.1%, and Poland up 6.3% versus that same period last year. In the region, overall growth from the GCC increased 4.6% with visitors from KSA now topping the arrivals list.

The first half of the year saw the expansion of adventure tourism activities in what is fast becoming known as the region's adventure tourism hub and recently awarded the World Travel Award for Middle East's Leading Adventure Tourism Destination 2018. 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 to enhance capacity together with an adventure park. In response to growing visitor numbers, 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.

RAKTDA is also further strengthening its MICE, sports and events offer in 2018 and beyond. The first half of the year saw the first Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) hosted in Ras Al Khaimah and last week RAKTDA announced that the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) will bring delegates from the UK for their annual conference in November. 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 - also known as The Road to Ras Al Khaimah - at the end of October, marking a significant milestone for golf in the Emirate.

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