Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) revealed at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 (AHIC) that the emirate recorded its highest ever occupancy rates for the first quarter in 2018. The rate, averaging to 79.4%, reflects a 4% increase compared to the figures from Q1 2017.
The visitor numbers also spiked recording a 12% increase compared to the first quarter in 2017. The increase, RAKTDA noted in a statement, was driven largely by growth form international market which saw an 18% year-on-year (YoY) growth and currently accounts for 70% of the aggregate visitor arrivals to RAK.
Among the international market, there was an uptick of YoY visitors from the UK and the Nordic countries by 18% and 26% respectively. Poland grew by 46% and Czech Republic by 34% which positioned the emirate well above the forecasted 4% tourism growth in 2018 by the UNWTO.
Performance indicators for hotels also registered an increase with the average length of stay up to 3.7 days year-to-date, which is a 4.5% increase from the same period in 2017.
The cater to the increase in demand, RAKTDA has proposed plans to grow its number of keys – which is just more than 5,400 to more than 10,000 by the end of 2020, a statement from RAKTDA said.
Some of the new hotel additions will include five-star Anantara Resort at Mina Al Arab; the five-star Avani Resort at Al Marjan Island; the four-star Marriott Rak Beach at Al Ma’areedh; the four-star Park Inn Rezidor at Al Marjan Island and the four-star Rayhan Rotana at Khuzam. Al Marjan Island is also anticipated to have 15 hotels by 2025 including Emaar’s Address Al Marjan hotel and residences on Views island that was revealed at AHIC 2018.
Al Marjan Island is a “key focus for investment and development” at AHIC along with beach, city and mountain clusters across RAK, a statement stated.
RAKTDA is also looking to shine the light on eco-tourism in Jebel Jais to complement the existing adventure tourism attractions in the emirate such as the Jebel Jais Flight, the world’s longest zipline that opened earlier this year. The attraction, which RAKTDA hopes to use to peg RAK as a global adventure tourism destination, has already attracted 5,000 visitors since its opening.
RAKTDA is also planning to launch a phase two for the zipline in Q3 2018 which will include adding two new cables to the existing zipline. This will increase the capacity to 400 people per day and amount to approximately 200,000 people per year, the statement further reported.
Besides bring the 14thannual AHIC 2018 to the emirate for the first time ever, RAK will also host the grand final of the European Tour Challenge Tour golf season in October later this year and is named “Road to Ras Al khaimah”.