Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) marks its most successful year for tourism, reporting a record-breaking 1.22 million overnight arrivals in 2023. This represents an 8% increase from 2022, with international visitors contributing significantly to the impressive 24% year-on-year growth.
Strategic Achievements in 2023
RAKTDA’s strategic growth plans have played a crucial role in this achievement. The Emirate’s commitment to tourism infrastructure, targeted initiatives, and sustainability has solidified its standing as a destination of the future. Key achievements in 2023 include:
- 24% increase in international visitors, supported by over 2,200 international activities across 30 countries.
- Establishment as a business and social events hub with a 23% growth in MICE revenue and a remarkable 103% increase in revenue from weddings.
- Silver Certification under EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations program, making Ras Al Khaimah the only destination in the Middle East with this recognition.
- Recognition in prestigious travel publications such as CNN Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure India, and Forbes.
- Improved international air connectivity through partnerships with airlines like Qatar Airways, IndiGo, Smart Wings, Centrum Air, and SmartLynx.
- Collaboration with Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) for borderless travel initiatives, promoting cross-destination tourism with Musandam.
- Introduction of Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort and the reopening of Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah.
- Hosting headline-grabbing 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.
- Setting two new Guinness World Records during the 2024 New Year’s Eve fireworks and drone display.
Raki Phillips, CEO of RAKTDA, expressed satisfaction with Ras Al Khaimah’s performance in 2023, emphasizing the groundwork laid for sustainable growth. Despite global challenges, Phillips highlighted the resilience of the tourism community and their collective effort to offer a compelling destination for visitors and residents.
Visitor Growth and Connectivity
RAKTDA’s efforts to broaden global exposure resulted in an 8% increase in total annual visitors, reaching the 1.22 million milestone, with a significant 24% boost in international visitors. Hotel occupancy rates experienced a noteworthy rise, reaching 74%, reflecting a 12-percentage-point year-on-year growth.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) facilitated cross-destination tourism activities, leveraging the proximity of Ras Al Khaimah and Oman’s Musandam region.
Enhanced Air Connectivity
To achieve tourism arrival goals, Ras Al Khaimah increased airlift, including the launch of a daily service by Qatar Airways. The expanded connectivity allows travelers to access a network of over 160 destinations globally via the Doha hub. IndiGo’s direct service from Hyderabad further accelerated arrivals growth.
Responsible Tourism Development
In 2023, Ras Al Khaimah achieved Silver Certification under EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations program, showcasing a commitment to responsible tourism. RAKTDA also introduced its sustainability certification program, Responsible RAK, with over 20 tourism businesses earning Responsible RAK Silver Certification.
Growing Hotel Portfolio
Ras Al Khaimah’s expanding hotel portfolio played a pivotal role in attracting visitors. New hospitality projects and the opening of Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort and the refurbished Waldorf Astoria contributed to the Emirate’s appeal.
Events Hub and Record-Breaking Achievements
The Emirate solidified its position as a global hub for business and social events, witnessing substantial growth in MICE revenue and revenue from weddings. Hosting major events and achieving Guinness World Records during the 2024 New Year’s Eve festivities further showcased Ras Al Khaimah’s prominence on the global stage.
A Positive Trajectory for 2024
Ras Al Khaimah’s remarkable achievements in 2023 have set the stage for continued success in 2024. The Emirate remains committed to sustainable growth, enhanced connectivity, and delivering exceptional experiences for visitors and residents alike.