Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), has revealed that visitor numbers in 2022 exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic levels, with the highest-ever number of annual arrivals to the Emirate.

The small Emirate, located next to Dubai, welcomed over 1.13 million overnight arrivals in 2022, its highest-ever annual visitor numbers.

The full-year figures have been boosted by numbers reached in December. Ras Al Khaimah welcomed its highest-ever tourism performance in one month, with over 128,000 visitor arrivals. This represented a 23% increase compared to December 2021.

New Year Fireworks ensure Ras Al Khaimah international fame

A major attraction was Ras Al Khaimah New Year’s Eve firework and drone display, probably the best way for the Emirate to celebrate its tourism performance. Ras Al Khaimah, already the holder of several world records for its renowned firework displays, welcomed in 2023 with a pyro-musical show, smashing two Guinness World Records™.

Securing the title of the ‘largest number of operated multi-rotors/drones with a simultaneous fireworks display’ with record-breaking 671 operated drones, and setting a brand-new world record for the ‘largest aerial sentence formed by multirotors/drones created with 673 drones, the 12-minute spectacle lit up Ras Al Khaimah sky with a jaw-dropping pyrotechnic performance and larger-than-life fireworks display.

Attracting visitors from around the world, the show featured state-of-the-art drones, nano lights, colours and shapes all choreographed to electric beats. Covering a stretch of over 4.7 kilometres, it reached a height of 1,100 meters and smashed the previous record of 458 drones. The celebrations were enjoyed by viewers of all ages as part of a family-oriented festival across Al Marjan Island with entertainment from some of the UAE’s best DJs and artists.

Culminating in a ‘Happy New Year 2023’ message to signal new beginnings, the drones then seamlessly transitioned into the Emirate’s iconic ‘RAKashida’ logo to tie back to the destination.

Taking inspiration from the ‘kashida’ concept in Arabic calligraphy – a line that connects letters to form a word – the logo represents the Emirate’s three uniquely recognizable natural elements: the sea with its perpetual swelling and subsiding, the desert with its undulating dunes, and the mountains with their staggering elevations.

Commenting on this year’s world record-breaking fireworks show, Raki Phillips, chief executive officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “Ras Al Khaimah has once again proven its position as a leading tourism destination that welcomes people from all over the globe. Not only have we set two new Guinness World Records™ titles for our #RAKNYE2023 celebrations, but we’ve also given thousands of visitors and residents a New Year’s Eve show that they’ll never forget. This marks a great start to what is set to be a hugely exciting and busy year for us as we continue to build the reputation of Ras Al Khaimah as the must-visit destination for 2023.”

2023 Minifootball World Cup to be hosted in Ras Al Khaimah

The festivities saw over 30,000 visitors and hotels across the Emirate fully booked, making it the most visited show to date.

This year, a major event will be the hosting of the 2023 Minifootball (WMF) World Cup, a mega international football competition held every two years that attracts thousands of spectators and fans from around the globe. The tournament will bring together 24 national teams and thousands of spectators to Ras Al Khaimah from October 28 to November 4, 2023.

Commenting on the hosting of the WMF, Raki Phillips said: “Winning the bid to host the 2023 WMF World Cup marks another milestone in our strategy to promote Ras Al Khaimah as a destination for athleticism and major sporting events and I would like to thank the World Minifootball Federation for selecting the emirate to stage this prestigious tournament, one sought-after by many cities around the world.”

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