Ras Al Khaimah has established itself as the hub for adventure tourism and destination weddings in the United Arab Emirates. From the creation of the longest zip line to mountainous hikes, the emirate is on a rapid scale growth trajectory in attracting various adventure seekers.
Further expanding its venture for adventure tourism, the recent partnership with Bear Grylls Academy places Ras Al Khaimah as a contender in the Middle East with all facilities necessary to strengthen its foray into the exciting outdoors. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, stated, “Signing with Bear Grylls Academy further resonates our strategy as an adventure tourism hub in the Middle East. We have seen a substantial increase from mostly Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Jordan and the number one market with an overall of 38 per cent is UAE, the strongest market for us. Countries like Saudi, Oman and Kuwait show great potential and substantial growth. India is our fourth largest market with 22 per cent YOY growth.”
Ras Al Khaimah’s attractiveness amongst international tourists continues to be strong, accounting for 62 per cent of overall visitors in 2018 – attributable to its 7,000 years of fascinating history, authentic Arabian culture and heritage, high-profile adventure attractions, magnificent natural landscapes, and exclusive luxury and wellness experiences. As per figures of last year, Germany, Russia and the UK continue to be the leading international source markets for Ras Al Khaimah, driven by a strong appetite for the destination’s year-round offering.
Destination weddings are slowly but surely gliding its way to Ras Al Khaimah with India being the fourth largest source market to the emirate. The market has been a key driver towards attracting not only any destination wedding but also notable Bollywood actors weddings. Mattar shared, “We have risen from zero weddings in 2017 to 16 weddings in 2018, out of which two were Bollywood actors weddings.”
He reiterated the importance of the Indian source market to the emirate, “With a representation office in Delhi and Mumbai, we are going to reinforce these offices by conducting more B2C campaigns. We want to ensure that we lure more Indians towards the destination. We are signing weddings with key wedding planners in India, some of who have a portfolio of over 65 million dollars.”
Connectivity is also an important aspect in attracting potential markets. Commencing from October 28, 2019, Pegasus Airlines will operate scheduled flights between Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. A leading low-cost carrier in Turkey, Pegasus Airlines will operate the direct route twice a week every Saturday and Wednesday.
The new flight operation will provide outbound and transit travellers from Istanbul a seamless access to Ras Al Khaimah. The carrier’s new route will further connect Ras Al Khaimah with 26 European destinations including the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, the Nordics and Russia via Istanbul. Ras Al Khaimah International Airport now welcomes direct connectivity from various global destinations including Cairo, Islamabad, Jeddah, Lahore, Peshawar, Calicut, Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw, Luxembourg, Prague, Moscow and Wroclaw.
Mattar explained, “Our strategic partnership with Pegasus Airlines will help us introduce Ras Al Khaimah to the Turkish market and most importantly, allow us to leverage Istanbul’s proximity and hub connectivity with our key feeder markets within Europe and Russia. This new addition is an important step in our continuous drive to increase accessibility and visibility, attract more high-yield visitors, and ultimately boost both first-time and repeat visitation from our source markets.”