RAK woos ad­ven­ture lovers

Ras Al Khaimah is ag­gres­sively en­hanc­ing its pres­ence in In­dia through strate­gic part­ner­ships, and is in­ten­si­fy­ing its fo­cus on ad­ven­ture tourism in line with UNWTO’s Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for Devel­op­ment, re­veals Haitham Mat­tar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah

TravTalk - India - - NTO - AHANA GURUNG

QRas Al Khaimah has been ac­tively pro­mot­ing the des­ti­na­tion in the In­dian travel the In­dian tourist ar­rivals?

Ras Al Khaimah is now widely recog­nised as one of the most rapidly de­vel­op­ing tourism sec­tors in the UAE. The north­ern emi­rate recorded a 28 per cent rise in In­dian ho­tel guests in 2016 when com­pared to 2015. With In­dia ranked as the emi­rate’s fourth largest in­ter­na­tional source mar­ket, RAKTDA has seen ex­ten­sive trade and pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties to en­sure con­tin­ued growth from the Sub­con­ti­nent. To strengthen our pres­ence in the mar­ket, we have also formed new strate­gic part­ner­ships with In­dia’s lead­ing tour op­er­a­tors and have part­nered with Cox & Kings and TUI. Ad­di­tion­ally, Ras Al Khaimah has proven to be a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for In­dian wed­dings.

QWhat are the driv­ing fac­tors for the over­all growth? As the des­ti­na­tion’s di­verse tourism of­fer­ing con­tin­ues to ma­ture, the last 12 months saw a se­ries of sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ments in the ad­ven­ture tourism seg­ment and the host­ing of in­ter­na­tional sport­ing events like the Ras Al Khaimah 2016 Golf Chal­lenge, and con­fer­ences. Col­lec­tively, our achieve­ments stim­u­lated in­creased vis­i­tor num­bers from both es­tab­lished source mar­kets and emerg­ing ones.

Ras Al Khaimah’s four largest in­ter­na­tional source mar­kets (in­clud­ing In­dia) each recorded dou­ble digit year-on-year growth in 2016, with Ger­man vis­i­tors up 24.6 per cent last year and now con­tribut­ing one in 10 of all vis­i­tors to the emi­rate. The UK and Rus­sia also re­ported sim­i­lar vis­i­tor in­creases of 35 per cent and 19.5 per cent re­spec­tively. We are also see­ing a surge in growth from Scan­di­navia and Cen­tral Europe. Year-on-year, the UAE con­tin­ues to re­main the most sig­nif­i­cant source mar­ket in terms of vis­i­tor num­bers, ac­count­ing for 41.2 per cent of to­tal vis­i­tors to Ras Al Khaimah last year.

QSince Ras Al Khaimah houses some of the most exclusive hos­pi­tal­ity brands, how has the sec­tor fared?

I must high­light that Ras Al Khaimah has wit­nessed a strong ho­tel per­for­mance that with­stood in­creases in ho­tel sup­ply and chang­ing source mar­ket con­di­tions. Key ho­tel KPIs are grow­ing at a rate which is well above most GCC mar­kets. A 10 per cent in­crease in oc­cu­pancy was ob­served in ho­tels through­out 2016, re­port­ing an av­er­age of 71 per cent from Jan­uary to De­cem­ber. Sim­i­lar growth was posted across all key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors with RevPAR in­creas­ing by 5.5 per cent year-on-year 2015, while Room Rev­enue grew 10 per cent. Mean­while, the emi­rate’s ac­com­mo­da­tion port­fo­lio reg­is­tered four per cent growth in av­er­age length of stay, ris­ing from 3.19 days in 2015 to 3.32 days last year.

QIn terms of tourism prod­ucts, what are some of the key devel­op­ments in pipeline?

The re­gion’s first com­mer­cial Via Fer­rata (Iron Path) was launched in Novem­ber 2016 and has been a com­mer­cial suc­cess. The three-course Via Fer­rata spans the rocky fa­cades of Jebel Jais, the coun­try’s high­est peak which rises to 6,266 feet and is part of the rugged Al Ha­jar moun­tain range where the av­er­age cli­mate is 10 de­grees Cel­sius be­low mean Gulf tem­per­a­tures.

Other prod­uct devel­op­ments in 2017 in­clude the open­ing of the world’s long­est zip line, which was an­nounced last year, and the launch of of­fi­cial cy­cling and hik­ing routes across the emi­rate, with a fo­cus on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s high­est moun­tain peak.

QWhich seg­ments are you par­tic­u­larly tar­get­ing? Ras Al Khaimah’s nat­u­ral and cul­tural as­sets are well po­si­tioned to tar­get three key high-yield global tourist seg­ments, which are well­ness seek­ers, ac­tive ad­ven­tur­ers & cul­tural ex­plor­ers in ad­di­tion to tra­di­tional sun, beach and golf tourism. Hence, RAKTDA has out­lined plans to lever­age the emi­rate’s nat­u­ral at­tributes key fo­cus of this strat­egy in­cludes rolling out poli­cies and ini­tia­tives to sup­port a re­cent part­ner­ship with UNWTO, which sees Ras Al Khaimah serve as a spon­sor of the United Na­tion’s Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for Devel­op­ment.

The emi­rate boasts a di­verse ar­ray of nat­u­ral land­scapes that ap­peal to all walks of vis­i­tor, whether its beach-seek­ers, ac­tive ad­ven­tur­ers or well­ness seek­ers. Through a pro­gramme of care­ful devel­op­ment, we are in­tent on en­hanc­ing these at­trac­tions for the ben­e­fit of trav­ellers and of­fer­ing a sus­tain­able tourism prod­uct pool which pre­serves the rich lo­cal cul­ture and tra­di­tions that the re­gion is known for. Un­der the umbrella of au­then­tic­ity, the emi­rate of­fers a rich his­tory, dat­ing back 7,000 years and boasts 18 his­toric for­ti­fi­ca­tions, cas­tles and tow­ers — all of which are rare to find within the UAE.

Ras Al Khaimah’s four largest in­ter­na­tional source mar­kets (in­clud­ing In­dia) each recorded dou­ble digit year-on-year growth in 2016, with Ger­man vis­i­tors up 24.6% last year and now con­tribut­ing one in 10 of all vis­i­tors to the emi­rate. The vis­i­tor in­creases of 35% and 19.5% re­spec­tively.

Haitham Mat­tar CEO, Ras Al Khaimah TDA

Dhaya Fort

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.