Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has announced a 14 per cent increase in international visitors during the first six months of the year.
This is ahead of the UNWTO forecast of four per cent tourism growth in the Middle East in the first half of 2018 and demonstrates the ongoing strength of Ras Al Khaimah as an emerging tourism destination.
International markets accounted for 66 per cent of visitor arrivals from January to June 2018, with a significant increase in Russian visitors, up 50 per cent year-on-year.
Germany remained the second biggest source market, up four per cent, followed by the UK with an increase of 13 per cent on 2017.
The Nordic region also remained strong, seeing 21.3 per cent growth since the start of the year.
Emerging markets also continued their upward trajectory with Czech Republic up 34 per cent, Kazakhstan up 22 per cent, and Poland up 6.3 per cent versus that same period last year.
In the region, overall growth from the Global Cooperation Council increased 4.6 per cent, with visitors from Saudi Arabia now topping the arrivals list.
The first half of the year saw the expansion of adventure tourism activities in what is fast becoming known as the region’s adventure tourism hub, recently awarded the World Travel Award for Middle East’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination .
Hotel Performance also remained strong in the first half of the year with occupancy rates consistent at 73.3 per cent and average room rate increasing 5.5 per cent versus the same period last year.
Supply of hotel keys is a major focus moving forward to support the increasing popularity of the destination with both international and domestic tourists.
Plans are in place to add 5,600 rooms to the 6,500 currently available in the Emirate with the introduction of major global brands including Marriott, Movenpick, Sheraton, Anantara, Rezidor, InterContinental, Hampton by Hilton and Crowne Plaza over the next three years.
The aim is to further increase to more than 12,000 hotel rooms by 2022 to accommodate the ever-growing number of visitors.
Haitham Mattar, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “With international arrivals to the Emirate rising by 14 per cent in the first half of the year, we are on track to exceed our projection of one million visitors by the end of the year.
“Our focus remains on sustainable development with new products and accommodation to meet the growing demand.
“This will form an integral part of our Destination 2019-2021 strategy which will be released in quarter four.”