Although Dubai may be the most common talking point of the UAE, 2012 has seen the profile of fellow emirate Ras Al Khaimah raise in recent years with development continuing, the property market improving and tourism numbers increasing.
Data released by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAK TDA) the emirate welcomed 523,568 visitors in the first five months of the year, exceeding the expectation that 500,000 would arrive in the first half of 2012. This lead to increased occupancy in hotels which increased by six percent to 82 percent when compared with the same period of 2011 for beachfront hotels and to 73 percent for city hotels.
It is hoped that this performance will continue in the emirate and the government has budgeted around DH1.8 billion for tourism developments up to the end of 2013 creating new hotels and improving infrastructure. It is hoped that this development will drive further tourism and attract around 1.2 million visitors by 2013.
At the moment, the most popular UAE destinations are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but with the development and establishment that is going on in RAK at the moment the emirate could grow to be just as big as its neighbours.
Chief Operating Officer of RAK TDA commented at a September meeting: “There is a perception at the moment that you land in Dubai and you stay in Dubai.
“The problem is that Dubai started early and now the other emirates are following, each with their own branding exercises.”
One thing that Louis added was that the UAE Government could focus on driving tourism to the UAE as a whole rather than having separate plans for each individual emirate. However, in terms of raising its own individual profile RAK plans to use social media, especially with the development of an app for the iPad and iPhone which gives an array of information about the emirate including where to stay and what to see.
It was also revealed earlier this year that Ras Al Khaimah is to see it’s air travel improve with domestic flights between there and Abu Dhabi thus making it easier for people to travel between the emirates. There are also no other domestic flights of this type amongst the relative emirates giving RAK the edge.
With developments such as the Real Madrid Resort theme park, due for completion in 2015, RAK’s future looks like it is going to have a lot to shout about. Construction is also underway on the Al Marjan Island, which is similar to the iconic Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, where InterContinental Hotel Group have announced the creation of a Crowne Plaza hotel.