RAS AL KHAIMAH: Trail Blazers

In contrast to the metropolises of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the fourth largest emirate offers a unique package, all within a short 45 minute drive from Dubai.

With this in mind, and the desire for indigenous, authentic escapes, it comes as no surprise that, as mentioned by Mueller, Ras Al Khaimah outperformed the growth of the preceding cities, with a noteworthy 10 percent increase in domestic visitors at The Cove Rotana Resort Ras Al Khaimah.

Nevertheless, it is not just UAE residents who are taking notice of Ras Al Khaimah’s offerings.

“Whilst tourism derived from the domestic market remains strong and [is] the principal source of business for the hotel, there has been a sharp influx of international tourists to our properties,” described Mokhtar.

Due to a variety of advancements, bolstered by RAKTDA’s comprehensive international promotional initiatives, the number of foreign arrivals has skyrocketed.

As shown in figures released by RAKTDA, in the first nine months of 2016, there was exceptional growth from the established core markets of the UK and Germany, up 28.6 percent and 53 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, increases were also observed from Indian and Russian markets, rising 22 percent and 4.6 percent, correspondingly.

These, along with the UAE, make up Ras Al Khaimah’s top five source markets, noted Mattar.

As Mattar outlined, the organisation has participated in a number of trade shows, both regionally and overseas, in countries such as the UK, Germany, India and Russia, including World Travel Market London, aiming to capitalise on the emirate’s increasing popularity among recognised source markets.

Nevertheless, the country ‘s tourism stakeholders also acknowledge the value of attracting a diversified clientele, with growing interest from novel nationalities.

“[...] There has been a significant increase in visitor numbers from emerging destinations, such as Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia and Poland,” clarified Mattar.

He continued to say that while the focus is primarily on the aforementioned core markets, RAKTDA has supported a range of promotional activities within emerging source markets that have shown potential.

One such example with clear cut results is the recent launch of two charter flights to Ras Al Khaimah International Airport from Poland, following a co-marketing agreement with TUI Group.

The ongoing impact of this partnership is unequivocal, as Matter explained, “This is expected to stimulate further growth from a market that in October, 2016, represented a 157 percent increase compared to 2015.”

Ras Al Khaimah is not just getting a name for itself among Europeans, but Mokhtar has noticed a boost in demand from the Chinese market, perhaps the impact of RAKTDA’s strategic partnership with one of China’s largest online travel agencies, Ctrip.

While RAKTDA’s endeavours are well underway, this recorded success is just a glimpse of things to come.

Amit Arora, general manager, Al Wadi Desert Resort Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel, elucidated, “RAKTDA has signed multiple new strategic marketing partnership agreements with major tour operators and airlines.

This incremental activity will start bearing fruit soon [...].”