Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has said that 2023 has been the best year for its tourism ever, with the emirate within the UAE welcoming a record 1.22 million overnight arrivals.

That figure is an 8 per cent increase over 2022 numbers and follows a significant 24 per cent year-on-year growth in international visitors.

The emirate’s international air connectivity was boosted with the introduction of flights serviced by Qatar Airways, IndiGo, Smart Wings, Centrum Air and SmartLynx.

With India, a major tourism source market for Ras Al Khaimah, particularly for leisure, incentives and weddings, IndiGo’s introduction of a direct service from Hyderabad, adding to its direct Mumbai flight, helped grow its visitor numbers.

As for the emirate’s sea connectivity, Ras Al Khaimah welcomed six calls by four luxury cruise liners in the first half of 2023 and will receive 14 luxury cruise calls this 2023/2024 season, growing to 20 by 2025/2026 and 50 by 2030/2031.

To support the growth in its overnight arrivals, in 2023, several new hospitality projects were announced in Ras Al Khaimah including Nobu, Le Méridien, W Hotels, JW Marriott & Hilton on Al Marjan Island in addition to Nikki Beach on Mina Al Arab, representing over 1,800 keys in total.

The destination also welcomed Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort, which fully opened its doors on 2 January 2024 with 174 rooms, suites and villas, including the emirate’s first overwater villas. Additionally, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah reopened following an extensive refurbishment.

Other upcoming hotel projects including Westin Resort (257 keys), Sofitel Al Hamra (292 keys), Rove Al Marjan Island (441 keys), Rotana Mangrove (258 keys) and Saij, A Mantis Collection Mountain Lodge (70 keys) are all set to open in over the course of 2024 and 2025.

Ras Al Khaimah’s future-proof plan to grow while avoiding over-tourism

Design details of the new US$3.9 billion Wynn Al Marjan Island were also revealed, with the 1,500-key mega resort inspired by the seascape of Al Marjan’s four islands. The integrated resort will feature shopping, a gaming area, a events centre, wellness and spa facilities and 24 dining and lounge experiences.

The hotel occupancy rate in the emirate grew significantly in 2023, with an occupancy rate of 74 per cent, marking a year-on-year growth of 12 per cent.

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “It has been a great year for our emirate, one that clearly set the groundwork for sustainable growth and development in Ras Al Khaimah. Despite global challenges that have impacted our industry, we remained agile and resilient as a tourism community, working together to deliver a destination offering that would resonate with our visitors and residents alike.”


(Image: Supplied by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority)