The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has seen renewed growth and economic vigor over the past several years. Once almost an afterthought in the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah has seen electric growth thanks to its burgeoning tourism industry as well as the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi. Thanks to intensified efforts to cultivate the tourism sector, Ras AL Khaimah has reported a growth of 4% in total annual visitors since 2018, hitting 1.12 million in 2019. Let’s take a closer look at why Sheikh Saud has been so effective at building Ras Al Khaimah as an international destination.
First and foremost, Ras Al Khaimah is one of the only emirates in the UAE that was not afforded the luxury of a rich oil industry. Without natural reserves of oil to boost the economy, Ras Al Khaimah has had to instead diversify its efforts in a number of different areas. Traditional economic sectors in the UAE include real estate development, manufacturing, agriculture, and the production of building materials.
Ever since Sheikh Saud renewed his focus on tourism, that sector of the economy has grown faster than all other aspects. Sheikh Saud has worked with the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority to turn Ras Al Khaimah into an international destination for entrepreneurs, tourists, and expats alike. This entire process has been wrapped into a three-year development strategy that was implemented by Raki Phillips, the CEO at Tourism Authority. Phillips believes that the continued support of destinations like the Jebel Jais Zipline and the Ras Al Khaimah marathon as integral to said growth, among other events.
Visitors to Ras Al Khaimah are going to want to keep their eyes open for a few key destinations during their travel. With tax incentives in place, support for locations like the Ras Al-Khaimah National Museum and the Khatt Springs both create wonderful and welcoming experiences for travelers and tourists alike. Ras Al Khaimah is also well-known for its rich past and deep affinity for culture. Historical hotspots like the Dhayah Fort and the rustic fishing village of Jazirat Al Hamra allow for an up-close look at where the growing emirate has been.
In a report released by the Tourism Authority team, visitors to Ras Al Khaimah came from all over the world. The largest increase in visitors from a specific country would go to Russia, India, and Kazakhstan. Russian tourists in Ras Al Khaimah increased by 13% while Kazakhstan hit 15% and India hit 10.5%. Tourism Authority CEO Phillips believes that these numbers will continue growing as the country plunges forward with its three-year plan. In the coming years, Ras Al Khaimah is expected to add north of 6,200 hotel rooms from high-value brands to the emirate. According to the tourism authority board, Ras Al Khaimah is angling for more than 1.2 million visitors by the year 2021.
While Ras Al Khaimah is experiencing incredibly positive growth, concerns regarding the coronavirus will likely inhibit progress throughout all of 2020.