By browsing on our website, you are agreeing to our cookies policy.

 

Construction of Nakheel’s third expansion at Dubai’s Dragon City – an AED169 million (USD46.01 million) showroom and car park complex– has reached the 80 percent mark.

Bawadi Mall in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi is hosting a 24-hour Mega Sale featuring discounts of up to 90 percent across major brands from June 15 – 16.

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), the government body responsible for promoting the destination in key markets, further strengthened its position in Europe with targeted industry initiatives.

RAS AL KHAIMAH TOPS THE LIST OF ACTION-PACKED HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS. HAITHAM MATTAR, CEO, RAS AL KHAIMAH TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY REVEALS HOW THE EMIRATE IS MAKING THE MOST OF ITS GROWING POPULARITY.

 

TRAVEL TRADE MENA: Approximately, how many of your clients are visiting to enjoy active pursuits and where are they coming from?

HAITHAM MATTAR: In 2017, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism reported a growth of 19 percent in the overall number of guests. The UAE remains the most significant source market for tourism, accounting for almost half the visitors to Ras Al Khaimah in 2017; however we are also seeing significant growth from international markets. Germany, Russia, the UK and India respectively were Ras Al Khaimah’s largest source markets with the number of visitors from Russia increasing 79 percent versus 2016. The UK also saw solid visitor growth of 16.8 percent in 2017, largely due to the increase in UK tour operators bringing British holidaymakers to the emirate. 2017 was also the year of emerging market growth particularly amongst visitors from Eastern European countries. This year will see us focus even more on growing tourist arrivals from markets such as Scandinavia, Czech Republic and Kazakhstan while continuing our efforts to increase visitors from the UK, Germany and GCC and India which also witnessed double digit percentage growth.

TRAVEL TRADE MENA: To what degree do you believe the availability of such activities influenced their decision to visit Ras Al Khaimah, and how do you capitalise on this?

HAITHAM MATTAR: With the growth of our adventure tourism product we are seeing more active adventurers visiting Ras Al Khaimah to experience the Via Ferrata and Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline. The launch of the world’s longest zipline is a major milestone in the development of our tourism offer. This incredible feat of engineering has given us is a product that adventurer seekers from far and wide will have on their bucket list and many will visit us to experience. The media interest Jebel Jais Flight has garnered all over the world has also really helped us build global awareness of Ras Al Khaimah and drive consideration of the destination amongst our target groups.
However, adventure tourism is not our only target. As the region’s most diverse destination with a combination of amazing beaches, rugged mountains, luxury resorts and desert wilderness camps and just 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport we have great appeal to a broad audience. As part of our Destination Ras Al Khaimah 2019 strategy we are looking beyond traditional sun and sand holidaymakers and targeting cultural explorers and luxury indulgence and wellness seekers with product that meets their every need.

TRAVEL TRADE MENA: With Ras Al Khaimah's active leisure facilities expanding over recent years, to what extent has this attracted more guests visiting for active experiences?

HAITHAM MATTAR: Ras Al Khaimah recently announced its quarter one (Q1) hotel occupancy which saw its highest occupancy in a quarter, averaging 79.4 percent in the first three months of the year. The figures which are up four percent versus the same period in 2017 have been driven by ever growing visitor numbers in the region’s fastest growing tourism destination. Overall, visitor numbers increased by 12 percent in the first quarter versus 2017. This was largely driven by growth from international markets, which rose 18 percent year-on-year and now account for 70 percent of the total visitor arrivals to the emirate. The UK and Nordics performed particularly strongly up 18 percent and 26 percent respectively year on year, while visitors from Poland grew by 46 percent and Czech Republic by 34 percent. The figures reinforce Ras Al Khaimah’s position as one to watch on the global stage; with Q1 progress well above the UNWTO forecasted global tourism growth of four percent this year.

TRAVEL TRADE MENA: What future active services/developments will be introduced soon to the emirate or to your company?

HAITHAM MATTAR: In response to visitor demand for the world’s longest zipline, we recently announced that phase two of the zipline that will open to visitors in the third quarter of this year. This will feature two new cables and will increase the capacity of the Jebel Jais Flight to 400 people per day, around 200,000 per year. We also have plans to grow our current hotel portfolio from just over 5,400 rooms to more than 10,000 by the end of 2020 and as we grow ever closer to reaching our visitor targets the need for quality hotel accommodation has never been so important.