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Hiking on Jebel Jais or sailing along the Marjan Island, spending endless hours at the Khatt sulphur springs or tracing the ancient cultural roots at the Jazirat Al Hamra – Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) has plenty to offer tourists.
Riding on its varied landscapes featuring desert, beaches and tourist options, the emirate located on the northern part of the UAE is witnessing a steady rise in the number of visitors. Last year saw hotels register 2.14 million guest nights, posting a 72 per cent rise from the 2013 figures. The jump in the number of visitors meant annual revenue from tourism crossed the Dh1 billion mark for the first time. Most of the RAK visitors are from Germany, UK, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Switzerland and India as well as UAE residents.
Hospitality trade experts believe that RAK will have around 10,000 hotel and resort room keys by 2016. In 2012, the emirate only had 3,000 hotel rooms, highlighting the enormous growth of the hospitality sector. More than half of the new hotel inventory in RAK will come on Al Marjan Island.
Most of the hotels cater to leisure travelers, though many of the hotels are looking at attracting the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector. Many of the leading international hospitality chains have opened their properties in RAK and many of the existing resorts are undergoing major expansion.
Al Marjan is a group of four man-made islands housing various residential complexes, hotels, resorts, sports facilities including golf courses, and entertainment and retail centers. These islands, spread over an area of 2.7 million square meters, offer spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf.
The RAK Airport is linked to around 10 destinations globally. But the civil aviation authorities are hopeful that by 2020, the airport will be linked to around 20 to 30 cities including direct flights to Europe.
• Tourism revenue in Ras Al Khaimah crossed Dh1 billion in 2014
• Al Marjan Island has witnessed several new hotel developments
• RAK aviation hopeful for airport to be linked to 30 cities by 2020
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer