Pearl of the UAE: Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah

12:33 pm  |  08.04.2024

The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is becoming one of the most popular tourism and investment destinations in the Middle East.

The Ras Al Khaimah region of the United Arab Emirates attracts a unique combination of four different landscapes: majestic mountains, white clean beaches, mangroves, and desert. This is combined with the strategically important location of the emirate at the very mouth of the Arabian Gulf. Archaeological excavations show that advanced trading civilizations have existed in this region since 5000 BC. e. The history of the region stretches back to the Bronze Age, making this emirate one of the few places in the world where people have lived for more than seven thousand years.

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The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Department is actively working to make it the pearl of UAE tourism – at least one million tourists visit the emirate every year. In addition, Ras al-Khaimah plans to become a business center of attraction – global conferences and forums can become the other reason to come here. What should you expect from the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah?

Landscape from Mother Nature

Ras Al Khaimah is the northernmost emirate of the UAE, a seafaring capital in the past and a booming region today. Nowadays, the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah is considered one of the most sought-after eco-friendly destinations in the Middle East.

Time magazine included this region in its list of the world’s best places for 2022. The annual list of 50 must-see places on the planet singled out Ras Al Khaimah for its adventure tourism offerings and unique natural environment. Nature and ecology are one of the important priorities of local authorities. The Tourism Development Department announced a bold new approach to modern development – sustainable tourism. The approach will be a key milestone in the strategy to drive overall sector growth and position the emirate to become a regional leader in sustainable tourism by 2025.

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort

The emirate is approaching the construction of new hotels consciously to avoid “overtourism”: overbuilding, overcrowding of cultural heritage sites, and destruction of the unique natural environment. Not so long ago, the department invested approximately $136 million in tourism infrastructure. This money went to the development of more than 20 tourism projects and resorts. And now there are already enough international hotel brands: Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, InterContinental, Movenpick, Rixos, Radisson, etc.

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The Tourism Development Department announced a bold new approach to modern development – sustainable tourism.

One of the significant projects this year for the emirate was the Jais Sledder attraction – a toboggan run laid along the slope of the Hajar mountain range. This project has no analogs in the world – more than 1.8 thousand meters of exciting sharp turns, which you drive at speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour.

Unique attractions are already available in the mountains, for example, the world’s longest zipline, Jais Flight.

Today the Suwaidi Pearl’s farm operates in Ras Al Khaimah – the only place in the Persian Gulf where pearls are grown. Last year became the start of a restoration project for Al Jazeera Al Hamra, one of the few remaining traditional settlements in the Gulf.

The regional authorities are determined to develop the tourism industry in the emirate in such a way that environmental protection and the preservation of the cultural code remain in the first place. The department says it will prevent excessive development of hotels, resorts, and other entertainment infrastructure in the emirate. There are plans to open eco-resorts in the mountains and attractions outside the city. 

Business Activity

It is worth noting that business activity is indeed present in the emirate, and this reaches an international level. For example, in 2021, the emirate’s department ranked sixth in the list of best employers in the UAE. It was also named one of the best places to work for women in 2021.

The comprehensive development of the region, both in terms of business and tourism, makes the emirate one of the most promising centers of the UAE in the future. The thrifty attitude towards history and nature once again emphasizes the high level of culture of the residents. They will continue to invest in the emirate because local authorities need to increase the contribution from tourism to GDP. Already, according to official data, the share of tourism in GDP is about 10%.

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Plans and Prospects

By 2030, the region’s authorities plan to reach three million visitors per year. The strategic partnership with Wynn Resorts, Marjan, and RAK Hospitality to develop a multi-billion dollar integrated resort on Al Marjan Island has attracted the largest foreign direct investment into the emirate. The project will not only strengthen Ras Al Khaimah’s position as a leading tourism and investment destination in the Middle East but will also have a strong impact on the tourism sector, creating approximately 11,000 new jobs. The opening of the resort is scheduled for 2027.

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