The number of UK arrivals to Ras Al Khaimah rose by 18% in the first quarter of the year.

Although exact numbers were not released, the UK figure represented an 8.4% increase in the market share of international visitors, according to the emirate’s tourism authority.

Overall visitor numbers increased by 12% in the first three months of 2018 against the same period last year.

This was largely driven by growth from international markets, which rose 18% year-on-year and now account for 70% of the total visitor arrivals.

Hotel occupancies went up by 4% to average a record 79.4%. The average length of stay increased by 4.5% to 3.7 days for the year-to-date.

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority plans to expand its resort portfolio from just over 5,400 rooms to more than 10,000 by the end of 2020 to meet the increased demand.

A total of 4,500 rooms towards the target have already been confirmed, including Anantara and Avani resorts, a Marriott, Park Inn Rezidor and Rotana.

Tourism Development Authority chief executive Haitham Mattar said:  We’ve had a strong start to the year which is important as we look towards our goal of one million visitors by the end of 2018 and 2.9 million by 2025.

“Our hotel performance is a key indicator of our propensity to grow and with record hotel occupancies recorded in Q1 we need to continue our focus on meeting increased visitor demand with a broader range of accommodation.

“With a number of prestigious, international brands opening hotels in Ras Al Khaimah in the run up to 2020 we are continuing to grow our tourism sector infrastructure and working with property and product developers to attract further investment.

“There is huge potential in the emirate for entities looking to develop resorts, niche accommodation options and new tourism products.”

Ras Al Khaimah is hosting the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference for the first time this year.