Ras Al Khaimah records highest visitor numbers in 2022
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Ras Al Khaimah records highest visitor numbers in 2022

Ras Al Khaimah records highest visitor numbers in 2022

The full-year figures follow a strong December performance in which the emirate welcomed its highest ever footfall in one month, with over 128,000 visitors

Divsha Bhat

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) welcomed over 1.13m visitors in 2022, a total increase of 15.6 per cent increase in 2021. The results exceed pre-pandemic levels indicating recovery and resilience in a volatile year.

Despite geopolitical and economic challenges, Ras Al Khaimah has become one of the fastest destinations to bounceback. In addition to its record visitor numbers, key 2022 achievements include launching Balanced Tourism – its roadmap to becoming the regional leader in sustainable tourism by 2025.

Strong December performance
The full-year figures follow a strong December performance in which the emirate welcomed its highest ever footfall in one month, with over 128,000 visitor arrivals, representing a 23 per cent increase vs December 2021. This was bolstered by the emirate’s record-breaking New Year’s Eve fireworks and drones display, which saw Ras Al Khaimah set two Guinness World Record titles for the ‘largest number of operated multi-rotors/drones with a simultaneous fireworks display’ and the ‘largest aerial sentence formed by multirotors/drones. The festivities drew over 30,000 visitors with public events and hotels across the emirate fully booked, making it the most visited show to date.

Sustainable agenda for 2023 and beyond
Under its new approach to sustainability – Balanced Tourism, the emirate aims to become the regional leader in sustainable tourism by 2025, placing all aspects of sustainability at the centre of its investment, from environment and culture to conservation and liveability.

Driving international tourism
The year 2022 also saw a 40 per cent increase in international visitors, with key source markets including Kazakhstan, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Czech Republic. This was driven by a series of partnerships with airlines and tour operators to target emerging and growing source markets, supported by more than 90 events and roadshows in 24 markets worldwide.

In a further boost for the emirate’s accessibility, Ras Al Khaimah also received three luxury cruises in 2022, welcoming over 2,500 passengers and crew. With a focus on developing its cruise sector, the emirate aims to attract 50 cruise ship calls each season, and over 10,000 passengers within the next few years.

Boosting the tourism and hospitality offering
Furthermore, new hotels and resorts opened in 2022, increasing the emirate’s inventory by 17 per cent to reach over 8,000 keys. The Intercontinental Hotels Group, Mövenpick and Radisson brands entered the destination for the first time with the opening of the InterContinental Mina Al Arab, Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island and the Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah Marjan Island.

With 19 upcoming properties, including global brands like Marriott, Millennium, Anantara and Sofitel, and 5,867 keys in the pipeline over the next few years, a 70 per cent increase versus current inventory and one of the highest development rates in the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism vision continues to gain momentum.

A major addition will be the multibillion-dollar integrated resort development with Wynn Resorts in 2026, announced early last year. The multipurpose integrated resort marks the largest-of-its-kind foreign direct investment in Ras Al Khaimah and will include more than 1,000 rooms, shopping, meeting and convention facilities, spa, more than 10 restaurants and lounges, extensive entertainment choices and gaming area.

Last year, RAKTDA also announced the opening of key new sustainable attractions, including the Jais Sledder, the region’s longest toboggan ride, which has welcomed over 100,000 visitors since opening in February.

“From January’s announcement of the multibillion-dollar integrated Wynn resort – a project that will usher in a new era of economic development through tourism – to securing two Guinness World Record titles for our New Year’s Eve fireworks and drone display, we have shown just how dynamic we are as a destination,” stated Raki Phillips, CEO of RAKTDA.

“Our success has been led by our agility and responsiveness – and the fact we think like a community, shaping our experiences to appeal to visitors and residents. With a determined focus on diversification, accessibility and sustainability, we are on track for even bigger things in 2023.”

Read: Ras Al Khaimah offers new hot air ballooning experience</strong

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