Sustainable Tourism: RAK Rebounds with Pre-Pandemic Level Footfall

Sustainable Tourism: RAK Rebounds with Pre-Pandemic Level Footfall

Ras Al Khaimah has quickly become one of the most sought-after sustainable destinations in the Middle East

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced its highest visitor numbers since the onset of Covid-19. The Emirate reported that visitor arrival numbers were back to pre-pandemic level during the first six months of 2022.

The impressive H1 performance saw the Emirate welcome over 521,085 international and domestics visitors between January and June 2022, a total increase of +21% vs H1 2021 and a return to pre-pandemic figures from YTD June 2019.

Enhanced tourism and hospitality offering

The Emirate’s strong performance in 2022 was bolstered by the opening of several new hotels and resorts.

Ras Al Khaimah has quickly become one of the most sought-after sustainable destinations in the Middle East, most recently being included in Time magazine's World's Greatest Places of 2022.

The annual list, which features 50 must-visit global destinations, highlighted Ras Al Khaimah for its adventure offerings and stunning, unique topography and geodiversity.

In recognition of the Emirate’s incredible natural surroundings, the Authority has continued its development of sustainable new attractions to draw visitors both locally and internationally.

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A key new attraction to open was the Jais Sledder, the region’s longest toboggan ride, spanning over 1,840 exhilarating metres of hairpin curves and reaching speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour. Jais Sledder has welcomed over 54,000 visitors since opening in February.

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “Ras A Khaimah is one of the first destinations in the region to recover to pre-Covid levels thanks to the agility of our tourism community during the pandemic.

"Our investment strategy, which focuses on exactly that, has been central to our fast rebound. We are on track to reach more than 1.11 million arrivals by the end of the year and to fully return to pre-pandemic levels in just two years.”

Balanced Tourism

Underpinning Ras Al Khaimah’s return to above pre-pandemic visitor numbers is the Authority’s commitment to building a sustainable destination.

Announced at the 2022 Arabian Travel Market, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has adopted a bold new approach to sustainability – Balanced Tourism – marking a key milestone in its strategy to drive overall growth and become the regional leader in sustainable tourism by 2025.

The Authority is committed to shaping tourism in the UAE by placing all aspects of sustainability at the centre of its investment and development strategy to create a destination that will resonate with today’s responsible traveller.

As such, it unveiled a Tourism Business Accreditation Program that will also provide a management framework to help individual businesses grow their sustainability efforts as a means of benchmarking their performance.

It is anticipated that over 30 businesses will receive tourism certifications in the first year of the program. Additionally, the Authority launched the Destination Certification Program which provides a firm basis for action on sustainable management.

The Objective is to obtain the “Sustainable Tourism Destination” certificate for Ras Al Khaimah in 2023, which is internationally recognized.

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