Ras Al Khaimah is a 45-minute drive north of Dubai and is considered the UAE’s 4th largest Emirate. It features a 64-kilometer coastline, lush mangroves, a beautiful desert landscape, rich culture, and is home to the UAE’s highest mountain peak – Jebel Jais. RAK aims to be a leader in sustainable tourism by 2025 and the government and business establishments are working together to attain this goal. The concept of sustainable tourism takes full account the current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities. With 1.1 million expected visitors this year, RAK has already welcomed over 200,000 visitors during Q1 2022 with the top 5 visitors coming from Russia, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic. The emirate plans to attract three million visitors by 2030.
‘Balanced Tourism’ initiatives
At the recent Arabian Travel Market 2022, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) expressed its commitment to having a ‘balanced tourism’ approach to attain an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable tourism industry. Developing this type of approach helps businesses thrive, protects the environment, and supports the quality of life of residents, citizens, and workers.
RAKTDA has committed $136 million to ensure attractions are being developed to enhance the natural environment. Additionally, it has launched the Green Hotels Rating in 2021, which aims for 100% sustainability integration across all hotels. RAKTDA is also collaborating with EarthCheck, an international tourism advisory group, to develop sustainable practices to address key sustainability issues in the tourism industry.
Achievements in Tourism
This 2022, Ras Al Khaimah was able to secure two sets of Guinness World Records with NYE 2022 Fireworks show: Most Remote Operated Multirotors/Drones Launching Fireworks Simultaneously and Highest Altitude Multirotor/Drone Firework Display.
Ras Al Khaimah has been featured in Time Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places 2022 for Extreme Amusements. RAK attracts thrill seekers with its wide selection of outdoor adventures. Jebel Jais alone is home to Jais Flight – the world’s longest zip line, and the recently launched Jais Sledder – the region’s longest toboggan ride. Rak Airventure hot-air balloon also debuted this year allowing tourists to see RAK’s panorama from 100 feet above the ground. Jebel Jais also houses the highest restaurant in the UAE, 1484 By Puro, situated at 1,484 meters above sea level.
In 2020 and 2021, Ras Al Khaimah was named the Gulf Tourism Capital. The Gulf Cooperation Council commended the emirate for establishing itself as a sustainable tourist destination.
There is an increasing number of international sporting events such as the world’s fastest half marathon that has been held in the Emirate for the last 15 years.
RAK is also the first city in the world to secure the Bureau Veritas Safeguard Label and the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travel Stamp during the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘Live RAK Play’ Program turned the emirate into an ideal work-from-home location for digital nomads, offering them a range of long-stay offers across numerous hotels.
Known as the fastest-growing destination in the region, Ras Al Khaimah is considered one of the most diverse Emirates, offering world-class experiences and attractions. Located along the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the Emirate now boasts nine luxury 5-star hotels. A total of 48 hotels across all areas of the Emirate deliver options to suit every budget, with 7,369 rooms available at the last count. Its diverse economy includes over 38,000 companies from 100 countries, representing over 50 economic fields. Around 5% of GDP is generated by tourism, which is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy. Strong returns on beach and mountain properties have been recorded, contributing immensely to the growth of the emirate’s economy and the job market. The existing hotel industry has shown a high-profit conversion rate when compared to other similar markets in the region.
- Jais Wings – opens later in the year to allow tourists to paraglide and see the beautiful scenery of Jebel Jais
- Earth Hotels Altitude, an eco-based pop-up concept to open on Jebel Jais this year
- Direct flights from Germany to Ras Al Khaimah – Dutch leisure carrier Corendon Airlines will now operate seven direct weekly flights to RAK International Airport
- Jais Swing – to open next year in Jebel Jais
- Jais Yard – will be opening next year to bring an open-air movie theater, children’s play areas, and a culinary village with food trucks
- Wynn Resort – an integrated hotel and resort to open in 2026
- Saij Mountain Lodge to open next year
- Development in RAK’s cruise sector – new ferry terminal and development of marine transport infrastructure
A growing number of travelers now seek out places that provide a variety of outdoor experiences since the pandemic. In its efforts to develop its tourism industry, Ras Al Khaimah has earned a reputation for being one of the leading destinations for both leisure and business tourism.
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