Ras Al Khaimah: US travelers discovering delights of ‘Gulf Tourism Capital’
U.S. travelers are discovering the wonders of the Emirate recently named the “Gulf Tourism Capital,” Ras Al Khaimah. In congruence with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) ongoing efforts to highlight the country as a popular tourism destination, Ras Al Khaimah has stood out as the place to visit for the U.S. travelers, reaching nearly 10,000 total U.S. visitors in 2018, more than a 16 percent increase of tourists visiting the Emirate last year.
The rise in U.S. traveler numbers year over year is a testament to the region’s most recent recognition and the broad array of tourist attractions within the Emirate. Home to the Guinness World Record-breaking New Year’s fireworks display and the world’s longest zipline, Ras Al Khaimah is quickly becoming the preeminent adventure tourism destination in the region. Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline, which is located near the peak of the UAE’s highest mountain, represents a high-profile attraction that features on every thrill-seeker’s bucket list.
The Emirate is also known for its efforts in driving forward sustainable development and supporting the post-oil economy, increasing tourist facilities and providing advanced innovative tourism services across the UAE.
This month, Ministers and senior officials held a meeting to coordinate tourism efforts within the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, countries. In attendance was a UAE delegation led by Mohammed Khamis Al Muhairi, Advisor to the Minister of Economy for Tourism Affairs, on behalf of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy.
Presenting the key tourism achievements, Al Muhairi said that in 2018, the number of hotel guests visiting the UAE reached 25.6 million, an increase of 3.8 percent compared to 2017. These guests spent a total of 80.4 million hotel nights, an increase of 3 percent over 2017.
The country has 1,117 hotel establishments with an average 173.4 hotel rooms each and an average occupancy rate 73.5 percent while international visitors made up 83 percent of hotel guests, compared to 17 percent for local guests, he added.
He also said that the report of the World Tourism and Travel Council in 2019 revealed that the tourism sector made up 11.1 percent of the UAE’s GDP in 2018, amounting to AED164.7 billion (USD44.8 billion). This contribution is expected to rise by three percent in 2019, and tourism provided 9.6 percent of total jobs in 2018, corresponding to around 611,500 positions. This percentage is expected to rise by 2.8 percent in 2019, he further added.
In 2018, visitor spending amounted to AED136.8 billion (USD37.3 billion), or 8.6 percent of the country’s total exports. This figure is expected to increase by 4.1 percent in 2019. Total investments in the country in 2018 amounted to AED26.4 billion (USD7.2 billion), or 8.1 percent of the total.