Discovering Ras Al Khaimah: UAE’s Emerging Epicenter of Opportunity

by May 7, 2024Hotel Development

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) reports its best year for tourism ever, welcoming a record 1.22 million overnight arrivals to the Nature Emirate in 2023, up 8% on 2022 numbers, bolstered by a significant 24% year-on-year pick-up in international visitors. As per the latest press releases by RAK Tourism authorities, 2023 has been the best year for them till date.

The remarkable growth in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is not a stroke of luck; rather, it is the result of meticulous and strategic planning by the state, particularly evident in its infrastructure development initiatives and careful curation of attractions to uphold RAK’s status as a premier destination. This has led to phenomenal growth with various measures being put in place like improving air travel connection, handling more tourists from cruise ships and increasing the number of hotels in RAK. However, amidst this expansion, RAK remains committed to sustainability, exemplified by its distinction as the first destination in the Middle East to achieve the EarthCheck certification.

Gateway to Global Access

In addition to its aviation advancements, RAK is making waves in the maritime domain, having welcomed 14 luxury cruise calls in the 2023-2024 season. This figure is poised to rise to 20 by 2025/2026 and an impressive 50 by 2030-2031, underscoring the emirate’s growing prominence as a premier destination for both air and sea travellers. This improved connectivity will help in ensuring a diverse feeder market for itself instead of heavily relying on its neighbours only. 
RAK has also greatly increased its international connectivity by launching nonstop flights with major airlines such as Qatar Airways, IndiGo, Smart Wings, Centrum Air and SmartLynx, ensuring that it caters to different market segments.

The emirate has also captivated global attention through a series of high-profile events, including the 2023 WMF Mini-football World Cup, the Exotic Wedding Planning Conference, and the Global Citizen Forum. Moreover, Ras Al Khaimah secured two Guinness World Record titles and dazzled over 65,000 visitors with its spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks and drone display in 2024. In a first for the region, in the first quarter of the year, RAK tourism joined with Oman tourism to promote RAK, and neighboring Musandam governate in Oman as a joint destination campaign, cleverly named “See Double”.

Hospitality Resurgence

RAK is ambitiously aiming to elevate tourism from its current 5% GDP contribution to being a  1/3rd contributor by 2030. With tourism reaching 1.22 million visitors in 2023 and projected to soar to 3 million by 2030, the landscape is set for transformation. The Anantara Mina Al Arab Resort opened in early 2024 further boosting the emirate’s appeal. It followed a significant facelift carried out on Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah which then reopened with pomp and colour. The imminent Wynn casino is also another one of the prominent amongst the new supply to come in. Wynn will open the region’s first 1500 keys Resort and Casino which is estimated to be a USD 3.9 billion project as an integrated resort.

This coupled with a myriad of other attractions in the pipeline, promises to attract even greater numbers of visitors in the years ahead. Rooms supply also is slated to double in the coming years, currently at 8000 keys, with another 7000 (only) in pipeline to accommodate future growth, the industry is poised for a prolonged period of supply-demand disparity, propelling ADR, rates, and ultimately RevPAR to unprecedented heights over the next decade.

Future in Focus

RAK with its compelling blend of tradition and modernity, is getting ready to offer visitors an unparalleled experience that transcends conventional tourism. It is emerging as a destination in the UAE which is slated for exponential growth in the years to come. Driven by visionary leadership and strategic initiatives, RAK is laying the groundwork for sustained growth and prosperity. With ambitious plans to diversify its economy and expand its tourism sector, the emirate is set to attract a wave of investment, talent, and visitors from around the globe.

For more information, please contact Najmul Khan at [email protected]




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