Dubai: Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2022, the emirate’s tourism authority said in a statement on Thursday, and is on track to cross one million tourists by the year-end.
The emirate welcomed over 521,085 international and domestic visitors between January and June 2022, up more than 21 per cent from the same period a year earlier, bolstered by new flight connections and swanky new hotels that have opened up.
“This is all the more remarkable given the current economic and geo-political landscape in which we operate that drives our focus on what’s important for long term resilience - diversification, community and sustainability,” said Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
Properties such as Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah on Marjan Island, the InterContinental Mina Al Arab, and most recently, the debut of Mövenpick at Al Marjan Island, have recently opened in the emirate, and Jais Sledder, the region’s longest toboggan ride, saw more than 54,000 visitors since opening in February.
RAKTDA has recently announced a series of strategic partnerships with airlines and leading tour operators to target emerging and growing source markets.
This includes the introduction of new direct flight routes, with Ras Al Khaimah set to welcome several new weekly flights from major cities in Germany, including Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich. To further boost connectivity, RAKTDA is developing the emirate’s burgeoning cruise sector, with the aim of attracting 50 cruise ship calls each season, and over 10,000 passengers within the next few years.
Earlier this year, Ras Al Khaimah also announced the development of a multibillion-dollar integrated resort development with Wynn Resorts. Scheduled to open in 2026, the resort will be home to more than 1,000 rooms, shopping, meeting and convention facilities, spa, more than 10 restaurants and lounges, extensive entertainment choices, and a gaming area.
RAKTDA is looking to promote the emirate as a leading sporting and MICE destination in the Gulf to boost tourism, announcing a number of strategic event partnerships secured in the first half of 2022.
Ras Al Khaimah was recently selected by The World Minifootball Federation (WMF) to stage its biennial international football competition. “A mega international football competition held every two years, the 2023 Minifootball World Cup will further attract thousands of spectators and fans from around the globe to experience the Emirates unique tourism and hospitality offering,” said the tourism authority.
“As Ras Al Khaimah continues to expand its tourism, we expect to go from strength to strength, inviting more visitors from around the world to discover our stunning nature emirate,” said Phillips.
RAKTDA said it is “committed” to shaping tourism in the UAE by placing sustainability at the centre of its investment and development strategy. It unveiled a ‘Tourism Business Accreditation’ programme that will provide a management framework to help individual businesses grow their sustainability efforts as a means of benchmarking their performance. It is anticipated that over 30 businesses will receive tourism certifications in the first year of the program.
The tourism body also launched the ‘Destination Certification’ programme, which provides a firm basis for action on sustainable management.