UAE: Tourist numbers in RAK are up this year despite dip in Russian-speaking visitors, says top official

The first quarter of this year saw 8 per cent growth of visitor arrivals compared to the first quarter of 2019, he said



By Reuters

Published: Tue 10 May 2022, 7:06 PM

Russian-speaking tourists to the town of Ras Al Khaimah, part of the United Arab Emirates, have dipped since Russia attacked Ukraine, but visitors from other markets have offset that fall and overall visits are up this year, an official said on Tuesday.

Raki Phillips, chief executive of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said tourists from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other former Soviet states typically made up 10 per cent of annual visitors to the northern Emirate about 120 kilometres from Dubai.

"However, during the crisis, of course there's been an impact, but we are such a resilient destination that's very international in our visitor arrivals that we haven't seen a big dip in the numbers," he told Reuters at the Arabian Travel Market trade fair in Dubai.

"Overall, we've seen a great increase in new markets for us. We were able to pivot, focus on Latin America, focus on the Indian market, and the GCC has been a big focus for us. All of those are markets that have been able to compensate any changes we've seen in the Russian market."

The first quarter of this year saw 8 per cent growth of visitor arrivals compared to the first quarter of 2019, he said. The fourth quarter of 2021 saw roughly 5 per cent growth from the fourth quarter of 2019.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, RAK drew about 1.1 million arrivals. Last year, it attracted just shy of 1 million visitors and this year, expects to reach over 1.1 million "and we're aspiring to get close to 1.2 million visitors," Phillips said.

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