Ras Al Khaimah capitalises on Russian tourism bounce back

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has made a strategic move to build on the visible bounce-back in Russian tourism to the emirate.

The authority, which develops the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, strengthened its presence at this year’s Leisure Moscow trade fair.

This was a reaction to year-on-year arrival figures showing a 4.2% increase in Russian tourism to RAK during the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2015.

The RAKTDA delegation organised a full schedule of media and trade activities at Leisure Moscow, Russia’s leading international travel and tourism trade fair, from 21-24th September. Russia continues to be an important source market, which currently ranks as the third key international source market for Ras al Khaimah, after Germany and the UK.

“Russian tourists have been loyal visitors to the destination for over a decade and the importance of Russian visitors can be clearly seen by their average length of stay at 8.6 days, and room revenue which, at a growth of 10% over same period last year, surpasses that of all other nationalities,” said Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA.

“Ras Al Khaimah’s ability to continue to attract visitors and achieve growth from the Russian market, in the face of the well-documented difficulties of the outbound Russian travel industry over the past 12 months, is testament to our compelling value for money proposition and offering, as a destination with 64 kilometres of pristine beaches, world class hotels and a range of heritage and adventure attractions which all resonate well with the Russian market.”

RAKTDA’s destination pavilion at Leisure Moscow drew wide support from stakeholders and partners including Air Arabia, the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, the Hilton Al Hamra Beach and Golf Resort, the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, Rixos Bab Al Bahr and Desert Gate.

During the four-day exhibition, Mattar hosted a prestigious panel of travel and tourism commentators to discuss changing trends in Russia’s outbound market and how Ras Al Khaimah is adapting its product portfolio to suit.

“There is still a strong interest and need for year-round value for money destinations within a short flight time of Russia, and we are working closely with our Travel Agent and Airline partners, such as Qatar Airways, since it began flying to Ras Al Khaimah, Emirates Airline, Air Arabia, and Fly Dubai” Mattar added.

RAKTDA has strategic partnerships in place with a number of major tour operators and travel agencies in Russia, including Coral, Natalie Tours and Space Travel driving this year’s growth. Targeting further promotional activities and increased visitor numbers through to the end of 2016, a General Sales Agency (GSA) for Russia and CIS was appointed in June 2016.

Ras Al Khaimah is also experiencing increasing interest from across the CIS region, with particular growth from Kazakhstan, which reported a 214.6% rise in visitor numbers between January and August this year compared to the same period in 2015.

RAKTDA plans to capitalise on growing Kazakh demand by attending the Kazakhstan International Tourism Fair – one of Central Asia’s major tourism platforms – in April next year.

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