Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has stated that the emirate is on track to surpass its annual visitor target after hotels in Ras Al Khaimah reported a 10% year-on-year increase in international guest arrivals during the first six months of the year.
In addition to double-digit year-on-year growth in guest arrivals during H1, average hotel occupancy jumped to 72.7% - an increase of 4.7% on the corresponding six-month period in 2016.
Robust H1 growth was posted across all key performance indicators with total guest nights up 17.7%, average length of stay increasing by 10.5% to 3.9 days from 3.5 days last year, and room revenue increasing by 13.3%.
The H1 results also include a significant year-on-year boost in monthly figures for June as hotels reported a 27% year-on-year increase in guest arrivals. The month of Ramadan also saw a significant surge in visitor arrivals, with the emirate’s hotels reporting a 37.6 % year-on-year increase compared with the corresponding period last year.
With Ras Al Khaimah targeting 900,000 visitor arrivals during 2017, the emirate has already recorded half-year guest arrivals of 390,499 between January and June – up 6.5% on H1 arrivals last year.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, believes the ‘‘best-ever’’ H1, Ramadan and June figures put the emirate in a solid position to optimise the traditional peak season of late summer and Q4.
“While our excellent H1 results highlight continued year-on-year growth in Ras Al Khaimah’s visitor numbers, it is the Ramadan and June results that are particularly promising,” said Mattar. “Our best-ever figures during these typically lower periods of occupancy are a direct result of strategic initiatives and promotional activities undertaken in domestic and international source markets.”
The Ramadan and June figures follow RAKTDA launching a dedicated summer campaign called ‘Feel Free this Summer’ in April. Aimed at the UAE market and key international source markets, the campaign runs until the end of September and leverages the emirate as an ideal summer holiday destination.
The domestic focus has paid instant dividends and, year-to-date, the UAE remains the most significant source market in terms of visitor numbers, accounting for over a third of total visitors to Ras Al Khaimah between January and June.
Internationally, Ras Al Khaimah’s four largest source markets remain Germany, Russia, the UK, and India. After 84% year-on-year increases in guest arrivals during H1 2017, Russia has leapfrogged the UK to rank as the emirate’s second largest international source market. The UK and India now rank third and fourth, with year-on-year gains of 21% and 22%, respectively, between January and June.
Emerging destinations continue to be key contributors with significant growth in H1 from Kazakhstan – up 16%, Poland – up 224%, and the Czech Republic – up 81%.
The growth in arrivals from Poland and the Czech Republic are attributed to strategic partnerships and charter agreements struck between RAKTDA and in-market tour operators in the central European nations.
“It is very satisfying to see such robust growth from both our established and emerging markets during H1,” added Mattar. “Ras Al Khaimah boasts a diverse array of natural landscapes that appeal to all walks of visitor, whether its beach-seekers, active adventurers or wellness seekers, and with a diverse array of exciting new products coming online later this year - specifically in our adventure tourism playground that is Jebel Jais – we are optimistic of registering continued growth from all key markets for the remainder of the year and beyond.”
Product openings announced for Jebel Jais in 2017 include a multi-purpose observation deck and event area near the mountain’s summit that is due to come online in October. The launch of official cycling and hiking routes across the emirate - with a focus on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain peak - are also in development.