We are catering to the middle market, which is where we want to position Ras Al Khaimah. Obviously, the airport is working very closely with us on achieving the right sort of connectivity to assist us with our growth targets. We have set a target of reaching one million visitors by YE2018-1Q2019. The airport signed a deal with Qatar Airways that initially connects us to 170 destinations, but still the key focus is Europe and Russia, as our key source markets are Germany, the UK, and Russia. Similarly, the latest deal the airport did with Air India helps us to develop the Indian market further. That has become our fourth-largest market with fantastic YoY growth of 50%. Russia had been our number-four market earlier in 2016, but as of September 2016 was number three with 4% YoY growth. Ras Al Khaimah also grew its German tourism market by 68%, even though the total number of outbound tourists from Germany only grew by 3%. This means we have managed to capture a higher share of the German market compared to other destinations. Most of those arrangements involved co-marketing, so we put up dollar for dollar to market Ras Al Khaimah as a destination.
CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAK TDA)
Sheikh Eng. Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi
Chairman, RAK Civil Aviation Authority
Ras Al Khaimah continues to see strong growth in both the commercial and tourism sectors. Statistics reflect a huge air travel market existing in the four northern Emirates, and Ras Al Khaimah is leading this growth with the largest market share, at over 44%. In line with this growth, RAK Airport is experiencing increased activity, therefore we will invest in its infrastructure development including a new cargo terminal, passenger terminals, duty-free shopping, corporate aviation areas, and security facilities to meet our customers' needs. The expansion projects follow a 26% increase in aircraft movements of scheduled flights in 2015. Furthermore, cargo business at the airport grew 51% in 2015. As we move in to unprecedented growth, the challenges of providing secure and safe skies will be our highest priority. The aviation markets in the UAE and around the world are innovating constantly, and we are preparing ourselves to welcome operators who demand the very best in service, safety, and security. In conjunction with Air Arabia, we are establishing a regional market that has now gone on to international markets with the addition of Qatar Airways. This will promote other carriers to base their operations out of RAK Airport, as we offer convenient, cost-effective, and efficient solutions.
CEO, RAK Hospitality Holding
Even though each Emirate is promoted separately by its tourism authority, as a whole we offer compelling reasons to visit to a diverse clientele. Each Emirate is beginning to position itself accordingly, and Ras Al Khaimah has done the same. The reason our visitors come here is because of the Emirate's natural beauty and its sense of authentic Arabia. We are a unique escape for residents of the UAE as well; close to 50% of our business comes from the neighboring Emirates. We serve as an ideal destination for short breaks and family escapes to residents within the UAE. However, other nationalities choose Ras Al Khaimah for different reasons, such as longer but peaceful vacations or adventure tourism. One of the ways we complement the other Emirates is through our cultural and heritage attractions, such as the village of Al Jazeerah Al Hamra, where archaeologists are doing incredible work.