Ras Al Khaimah is planning an aggressive growth strategy, targeting 30 new hotel properties that are expected to add 10,000 room keys to the emirate by 2022.
CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA), Haitham Mattar, revealed the number to Emirates 24|7 in a chat at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market, which also saw Marriott Hotels announcing a 300-key resort to open in the emirate by Q1 2018.
Mattar said: “Ras Al Khaimah saw 730,000 visitors last year, with the 2015 target set at 850,000 by year-end. Over the next two years, we will be adding over 1,000 new rooms to accommodate the tourism growth.”
The rooms will range from mid-scale service apartments to five-star luxury destination resorts.
He continued: "Al Marjan Island is one of our main stays, with the 2.7 million square feet of land ready to accommodate 30 new hotels, which would add up to around 15,000 room keys to the emirate by 2022."
Mattar further added the emirate was on target with its influx of tourists, with RAK recording a 26 per cent year-on-year increase for Q1 2015.
He said: "Ras Al Khaimah achieved 2.14 million guest nights in 2014, a massive 72 per cent increase on 2013 performance with a recorded total revenue growth of 44 per cent, positioning Ras Al Khaimah as one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world."
The first quarter of 2015 has recorded a jump in the average number of visitors by 17 per cent with an increase of room revenue by 12 per cent.
Speaking further about its top three markets based on number of visitors are performing strongly, with visitors from within the GCC growing at 51 per cent, India at 81 per cent, China at 63 per cent, followed by Eastern Europe at 40 per cent.
With 5,000 hotel rooms in RAK at present, the emirate is looking to add 1,000 rooms by 2017.
In a joint venture between ASQ, the private investment vehicle of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, and Marriott International, a new five-star, 300-key luxury beach front hotel is to be built.
The Ras Al Khaimah Marriott Resort, which is the hotelier’s first property in the emirate, will have 45 suites, extensive meeting, health and leisure facilities, and six F&B outlets.
It will be located in the northern part of the Emirate, with direct access to a private beach, and with the Hajjar Mountains in the backdrop.
By investment through ASQ, the private investment vehicle of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, and operated by Marriott International, a new five-star, 300 key luxury beach front hotel is to be built. The Ras Al Khaimah Marriott Resort is the hotelier’s first property in the emirate.
Mattar also revealed the emirate was in talks to draw interest with international carriers.
“We are in talks with global airlines about using RAK International Airport as an operational base, which will ultimately support over 400,000 visitors flying in and out of the airport directly on an annual basis. We expect to be able to make an announcement within the coming weeks.” said Mattar.