Ras Al Khaimah, venue for November’s Association of Independent Tour Operators annual conference, saw a 13% rise in UK arrivals in the first half of the year.
Total international visitors to the emirate rose by 14% over the same period last year.
The figure is ahead of the UNWTO forecast of 4% tourism growth in the Middle East in the first half of 2018 and demonstrates the ongoing strength of Ras Al Khaimah as an emerging tourism destination.
International markets accounted for 66% of arrivals from January to June, with Russian visitors up 50% year-on-year. Germany remained the second biggest source market, up 4%, followed by the UK, according to the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
The first half of the year saw the expansion of adventure tourism activities in what is fast becoming known as the region’s adventure tourism hub.
Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline welcomed more than 10,000 riders. Phase two of the zipline is set to open at the end of the year and will feature an additional zipline cable to enhance capacity together with an adventure park.
Further development is planned to include a 37 room luxury mountain camp expected in December 2019, a survival training academy and new hiking and mountain bike trails.
Plans are in place to add 5,600 hotel rooms to the 6,500 currently available with the introduction of global brands including Marriott, Movenpick, Sheraton, Anantara, Rezidor, Intercontinental, Hampton by Hilton and Crowne Plaza over the next three years. The aim is to further increase to more than 12,000 rooms by 2022.
Tourism Development Authority chief executive, Haitham Mattar, said: “With international arrivals to the emirate rising by 14% in the first half of the year, we are on track to exceed our projection of one million visitors by the end of the year.
“Our focus remains on sustainable development with new products and accommodation to meet the growing demand. This will form an integral part of our Destination 2019-2021 strategy which will be released in Q4.
“Jebel Jais remains core to our proposition as we look to capitalise on the global adventure tourism industry and secure further interest from investors in this growing segment.
“With the right investment and the use of best practice to develop sustainable tourism, we envision a globally recognised destination attracting three million visitors by 2025.”
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