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The UAE’s traditional markets get an update of the destination’s complementary offering during a 10-day, nine-city roadshow
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) is anticipating stronger European visitor demand following a highly focused, 10-day road show which took news of the destination’s expanded offering to key trade and media influencers across nine key UK and continental Europe cities.
The big sales push began in London when RAKTDA CEO Haitham Mattar hosted a round table of 18 senior UK travel trade and media taking the opportunity to spell out the emirate’s value-for-money and new destination appeal for British travellers which in Q1 this year accounted for a 35 per cent increase in visitation on the same period in 2016.
“Importantly it was a two-way exchange with industry shapers which cut across the MICE, luxury, adventure, wellbeing, family and packaged segments,” explained Mattar. “We learned that British travellers are increasingly prioritizing safety when they choose a destination and are looking for inspiring vacation alternatives. Ras Al Khaimah can meet both these demands and our invitees expressed keen interest in partnering the emirate to leverage new business opportunities which can emerge from closer working relationships. European countries were the first movers in the UAE’s tourism emergence and we need to ensure they are fully aware of the extent of Ras al Khaimah’s complementary offering within the UAE.”
Within days RAKTDA, which develops the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, had moved on to the continent where it met with representatives of five of its key domestic stakeholders to roll the sales message out across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In just three days the Ras Al Khaimah delegation, which included Waldorf Astoria & Hilton Hotels; Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel; Jannah Hotels & Villas Ras Al Khaimah; Dubai Parks & Resorts and Emirates Airline, presented and dined with travel trade players in Düsseldorf, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.
The European tour concluded with a media road-show in Prague, which preceded the news from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport about the launch of the inaugural flight from Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport. The direct 189-seat weekly service, in cooperation with Czech tour operator Fischer, is scheduled to operate until 18 September 2017, with the possibility to extend services into the winter season.
Commenting on the launch, Mattar noted: “We’re pleased that more of our Czech friends can join the growing number of international travellers choosing the emirate for their holidays. Arrivals over the course of the last four months have already been positive with an increase of 111% in Czech tourists to the emirate year-on-year. I’m confident these new services, supported by our targeted marketing efforts in the Czech Republic, will spur further increases this year.”
Ras Al Khaimah is making substantial headway in raising its intake of International visitors receiving 11.6 per cent more during Q1 of this year compared to the same period in 2016. The growth pattern has established the northernmost emirate of the UAE as the region’s fastest growing tourism destination for international travellers.
“International markets are crucial to our goal of achieving one million visitors by the end of 2018,” said Mattar. “Our recent entry into the adventure and sports tourism segments will play a niche, yet important role in spurring demand. Already this strategy is paying dividends with the average length of hotel stay in Ras Al Khaimah increasing by almost 10% in Q1 to 3.9 days.
“Quite simply, we have more to shout about. Our successful launch of the region’s first commercial Via Ferrata has been widely welcomed as has our intent to invest in further development of product for active adventurers,” added Mattar.
RAKTDA is readying to open of the world’s longest zip line in the rugged Hajar Mountain range which backdrops the destination, an observation deck and luxury mountain camp, as well as the launch of official cycling and hiking routes across the emirate, with a focus on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak.
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