The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) celebrated its most successful year for tourism, marking a record-breaking 1.22 million overnight arrivals in 2023, demonstrating an 8 per cent increase in overnight arrivals to the nature Emirate in comparison to 2022. This notable achievement is bolstered by a remarkable 24 per cent year-on-year surge in international visitors, which was supported by over 2,200 international activities across 30 countries.
RAKTDA said that this robust performance is a testament to its’s strategic growth initiatives, including investments in tourism infrastructure, targeted promotional campaigns, and a commitment to sustainability.
In 2023, Ras Al Khaimah achieved several notable accomplishments, solidifying its status as a global destination. Additionally, Ras Al Khaimah was recognised as a hub for business and social events, with a 23 per cent growth in MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) revenue. The region also saw a remarkable 103 per cent increase in revenue from weddings.
Ras Al Khaimah also made history by achieving Silver Certification under EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations program, becoming the only destination in the Middle East with this level of certification and showcasing its commitment to responsible tourism. The Emirate also reported significant improvements in energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste output, surpassing baseline averages by 23 per cent, 29 per cent, and 61 per cent, respectively.
Enhancing airlift into Ras Al Khaimah is vital for achieving tourism arrival goals. The Emirate saw an increase in international air connectivity through direct flights with Qatar Airways, IndiGo, Smart Wings, Centrum Air, and SmartLynx. Direct flights from India, a key tourism source market, were increased, contributing to accelerated arrivals growth. Additionally, Ras Al Khaimah welcomed cruise liners, with 14 luxury cruise calls expected in the 2023/2024 season, growing to 20 by 2025/2026 and 50 by 2030/2031.
The region also collaborated with Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) to promote cross-destination tourism and boost visitor arrivals to both Ras Al Khaimah and Musandam.
In 2023, Ras Al Khaimah hosted several notable events, including the 2023 WMF Minifootball World Cup, DP World Tour, RAK Half Marathon, Arab Aviation Summit, Exotic Wedding Planning Conference, and the Global Citizen Forum.Finally, Ras Al Khaimah set two Guinness World Record titles during the 2024 New Year’s Eve fireworks and drone display, which attracted over 65,000 visitors.
Commenting on the achievement, Raki Phillips, CEO, RAKTDA, expressed satisfaction with the remarkable year, stating, “Despite global challenges that have impacted our industry, we remained agile and resilient as a tourism community, working together to deliver a destination offering that would resonate with our visitors and residents alike. Ras Al Khaimah is firmly on the path for continued success in 2024 and beyond.”
Delivering More Visitors to Ras Al Khaimah
RAKTDA’s efforts to promote Ras Al Khaimah globally resulted in an 8 per cent increase in total annual visitors, reaching the milestone of 1.22 million, with a significant 24 per cent boost in international visitors. The Emirate also witnessed a notable rise in hotel occupancy, reaching an impressive 74 per cent, reflecting a year-on-year growth of 12 percentage points.
More Rooms Drive Visitor Growth
Ras Al Khaimah’s expanding hotel portfolio is central to attracting more visitors. In 2023, several new hospitality projects were announced, including Nobu, Le Méridien, W Hotels, JW Marriott & Hilton on Al Marjan Island, totaling over 1,800 keys. The destination also welcomed Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort and the reopening of Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah following refurbishment. Upcoming hotel projects include Westin Resort, Sofitel Al Hamra, Rove Al Marjan Island, Rotana Mangrove, and Saij, A Mantis Collection Mountain Lodge.