Ras Al Khaimah on Course for 900,000 Visitor Target for 2017

3. RAKTDA CEO Haitham Mattar

Category Public Relations

Date 18 Oct 2017

Record year-to-date performance delivered across guest arrivals, occupancy, guest nights and length-of-stay

Ras Al Khaimah is edging closer to its 900,000 visitor target for 2017 after producing record arrivals in the first nine months of this year – the January to September 2017 international arrivals reveal nine per cent growth on the same period in 2016.

The latest results released by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), which develops and regulates the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, show nine-month growth in key categories including arrivals, hotel occupancy, guest nights and length of stay.

Visitor arrivals over the period reached 631,617, guest nights grew 12.4 per cent, occupancy rose 1.3 per cent to 69.2 per cent, while length of stay came in at 3.55 days – a growth of nine per cent.

“While growth in all KPIs was satisfying, we are particularly pleased with the extended length of stay which we attribute to development of our events calendar and products, such as the highly successful Via Ferrata around Jebel Jais in the Hajar Mountains. As the first regional product of its type, the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata has done much to established the emirate as a credible leisure activity and adventure destination,” explained Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA.

“We now have a strong foundation in which to further develop our product and event offerings on Jebel Jais. This month’s spectacular Vivaldianno concert and new attractions opening in coming months, such as the world’s longest zip line and a multi-view Viewing Deck, all leverage our natural mountain terrain to complement our traditional desert and beach propositions.”

Germany, Russia, the UK, India and Kazakhstan came in as the emirate’s top five international source markets, with the most prominent growth from Russia, with arrivals growing 66.34 per cent. Other major international gains came from the Czech Republic, which delivered 67.58 per cent growth, and Poland, with arrivals soaring by 281.97 per cent.

“These results are directly attributable to the increased overseas tourism partnerships, promotional and marketing activities,” explained Mattar. “We have also witnessed double-digit growth from the Nordics and Central European regions, and will be looking to further engage travel trade partners within these markets to build on nascent potential.”

Aside from the domestic UAE market, which still contributes to more than a third of overall visitors, Saudi Arabia was the emirate’s largest regional market with arrivals from the Kingdom increasing 3.3 per cent in the first nine months compared to the same period last year.

With its 2017 target of 900,000 visitors in sight, RAKTDA has a target of attracting one million visitors by the end of 2018 and the emirate is expecting an influx of new hotel inventory to cope with increasing demand. Hotel capacity is expected to number 15,000 to 20,000 rooms by 2025. The emirate expects to grow its accommodation stock by 4,400 rooms over the next three years with a mix of 3 to 5-star properties.

“As Ras Al Khaimah draws closer to reaching its one million visitors target by the end of 2018, and charts a path towards attracting 2.9 million visitors by 2025, the need for quality hotel rooms has never been so important,” added Mattar.

New hotels slated for the destination include: RAK Properties’ 300-room Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort, which is due to open early 2020 with the emirate’s first overwater villas and RAK Properties’ 350-room InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort, scheduled to open in 2019; the Park Inn by Radisson Resort on Marjan Island by the third quarter of next year; a Diamonds International Corporation luxury hotel and residential apartment project; a 460-room Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts property; a 225-key Avani Al Marjan Island; and a Millennium resort, which will add a further 350 rooms when it opens during the last quarter of 2020.

Other hotel brands marking their entrance in the emirate include Marriott, Sheraton Four Points, and City Max, while both The Cove Rotana Resort and Bin Majid Beach Resort are being expanded.

“This is an exciting time for hoteliers and hotel investors in Ras Al Khaimah, and with renowned international names joining the portfolio of accommodation options, it provides for greater international recognition of the emirate’s offering through stronger cross-marketing power,” explained Mattar. “To accommodate this growth in visitors, we are providing potential investors a range of innovative opportunities to develop stand out properties across the emirate,” he said, adding that these would be showcased at AHIC – the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference which will be held in Ras Al Khaimah for the first time in 2018.

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