With the Covid situation improving, Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is expecting the tourist count from India to reach the pre-pandemic levels.
Ras Al Khaimah received almost 1.1 million tourists, including 60,000 to 65,000 from India, in 2019. “In 2020 our overall tourist count was 715,000. But the majority were domestic travellers. We didn’t receive many from India due to travel restrictions back then. But in 2021, with travel restrictions in India, we received 30,000 to 35,000 tourists, while the overall count was close to 980,000,” Iyad Rasbey, executive director, destination tourism development & MICE, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, told FE.
“Our plan this year is to get back to pre-pandemic levels. We are looking at receiving 1.1 million tourists. For India, we are looking to get back to 2019 numbers by receiving 60,000 to 65,000 tourists from here,” he added.
Rasbey said that the majority of Indian tourists coming to Ras Al Khaimah combine their visit with Dubai as there is a huge Indian community in UAE and most of them stay in Dubai.
According to Rasbey, the average stay of Indian tourists in Ras Al Khaimah is around four nights.
India is one of the top international source markets for Ras Al Khaimah, with other being Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany and the United Kingdom. Private airliner Spicejet connects India with Ras Al Khaimah directly.
“Indians are known to be good spenders when they travel, especially when it comes to destination weddings. I know the revenue is good from the Indian tourists, but right now I do not have the exact figure,” Rasbey said.
Ras Al Khaimah has been a popular location for destination weddings for the past six-seven years among Indians, Rasbey said, adding that most of the organisers today look for new venues and spacious hotels, and being a liberal emirate, we do permit parties outside the hotel.
“The kind of flexibility people get in Ras Al Khaimah, they do not get anywhere else,” he noted.