Ras Al Khaimah, one of the rapidly rebounding tourism markets in the UAE, said it is on track to boost the number of visitors to the emirate by 12 per cent this year to more than 1.11 million.
The emirate received 990,000 visitors in 2021 and 1.1 million in 2019.
Between January and June this year 521,085 international and domestic tourists visited Ras Al Khaimah, a 21 per cent increase from the first half of 2021 and a return to pre-pandemic figures in the same period in 2019, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said in a statement.
The growth is driven by new direct flight connections, new hotel openings across the emirate and developing the cruise sector.
"This is all the more remarkable given the current economic and geopolitical landscape in which we operate that drives our focus on what's important for long-term resilience ― diversification, community and sustainability," said Raki Phillips, chief executive of the authority.
Ras Al Khaimah continues its rebound from the effects of Covid-19 through opening new resorts, developing Jebel Jais attractions, enhancing hiking trails and promoting its beaches and mountains to travellers seeking open, spacious areas for personal wellness post-pandemic.
The emirate opened several new hotels and resorts, including Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah on Marjan Island, the InterContinental Mina Al Arab and, most recently, the debut of Movenpick at Al Marjan Island.
Ras Al Khaimah now has more than 8,000 hotel rooms, with 4,617 in the pipeline over the next few years, according to the authority's statement.
The authority also recently signed partnerships with airlines and tour operators to target emerging and growing source markets. This includes the introduction of new direct flight routes from major cities in Germany, including Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich.
To further boost connectivity, the authority is developing the cruise sector, with the aim of attracting 50 cruise ship calls each season, and more than 10,000 passengers within the next few years, it said.
“Already one of the fastest growing destinations in the region, the first half of 2022 has set us off on a very strong trajectory for the year. It is great to see the strategic investments made by the authority throughout a very challenging period yield such strong results,” Mr Phillips said.
“As Ras Al Khaimah continues to expand its tourism, we expect to go from strength to strength."
Ras Al Khaimah's planned multibillion-dollar resort on Marjan Island with Las Vegas hotel operator Wynn Resorts will create at least 4,000 jobs and become the next catalyst for tourism in the emirate and the UAE, Mr Raki said in an interview in May.
The economic benefits from the mega resort will be significant, stimulating foreign direct investments and employment in the northern emirate, he told The National during the Arabian Travel Market.
Wynn Resorts, the Las Vegas-based hotel and casino operator, in January announced plans to develop a multibillion-dollar beachside resort in Ras Al Khaimah, the biggest FDI in the emirate.
The resort, which is designed to include 1,000 rooms and a gaming area, will open in 2026. Wynn is best known for its casino hotel resorts in Las Vegas, Boston and Macau.