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Forget Dubai, New York, London, Singapore – now is the time to invest in Ras Al Khaimah!

Until recently Ras al Khaimah had almost become the forgotten Emirate, overlooked in favour of its neighbouring, better known, some might say more exotic Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Ras al Khaimah was always known as the ‘quiet weekend getaway’, synonymous with family holidays, quiet breaks from the hustle and bustle of city life and tranquil waters. RAK is still all those things but much, much more, making it now a key tourism, investment and business hub, attracting a lot of activity and interest from investors and developers.

Property in neighbouring Dubai has long been the ‘pinnacle of property investment’ in the UAE attracting FDI from all over the globe due to its stunning Downtown Dubai Burj Khalifa views, pristine Palm Jumeirah beach-front landscape and yacht-fuelled Dubai Marina outlook. However, in recent times, Ras al Khaimah’s reasonable property prices, accessibility, luxurious amenities and Government schemes and incentives are driving the real estate market in Ras al Khaimah, positioning itself as a major destination for property investors. From 2011 to 2015, the RAK real estate market surged by 45%, proving that the allure to the Northern-most Emirate for real estate investors was real. RAK has certainly become a tangible second home and holiday home market, driven by its affordability, extended payment plans and true value-for-money luxury and leisure, especially when compared to Dubai’s volatile property market.

Aside from affordability and the peaceful stress-free luxurious environment, the location is also a major factor: Ras al Khaimah is only a 45-minute drive from the world’s busiest airport in Dubai, offering the huge appeal of accessibility for foreign travellers, meaning that the RAK tourism market is booming and has been for some time. It has grown by 8.7% since 2014 and RAK’s economy has grown by 11% every year since 2008, with 2017 a record breaking year for tourism visitors to the Emirate. It’s clear that tourism is key to the high levels of investment in RAK whether it be into property, hospitality or business start-ups, with RAK taking determined steps to position itself to a wide variety of specific needs of its visitors. Whether those visitors are beach and sun-seeker’s, active adventurer’s or wellness seeker’s looking to relax on their getaway, RAK can accommodate for all. Only in December, RAKTDA opened its record-breaking world’s longest zip-line on Jebel Jais – the UAE’s biggest peak and even more recently on New Year’s Eve, Ras Al Khaimah broke a world record for its impressive firework display on Al Marjan Island – RAK’s jewel in the crown and key to its future hotel growth. Just a couple of examples of RAK’s diverse and exciting vision for its adventure tourism playground in the very near future.

With the emirate positioning itself as a new luxury destination, property Developers are building grand properties, with the majority of the investment products in RAK leisure oriented, offering either beachfront villas or luxurious villas with private beaches, exploiting the cooler climate on the Jebel Jais peak. It’s clear there is a direct link between the growth in visitors to the area and the surge in investor interest – a trend that is expected to continue and even increase with 500 new hotel and hotel apartment units completed by the end of 2017. For the foreseeable future, businesses in the hospitality industry will be catering to the huge increase of international visitors with 1 million tourists expected in 2018, due to increased tourism marketing strategies and promotion of RAK through the opening of representative offices in the UK, Germany and India, as well as aggressive promotion in places such as China, the US, South & Central Asia and Europe. Also, coupled with the increased number of chartered flights bringing increased traffic to the Emirate, RAK is really blazing a trail in the UAE with its record-breaking tourism numbers.

RAK doesn’t just boast a focus on tourism businesses. It flaunts a business-friendly environment with Free-hold zones, a diversified economy and the positioning of the emirate as an offshore financial centre, making it a go-to place for business. RAK also boasts a cost competitiveness, which assures investors value for money and a healthy return on investment and investments in RAK carry assurance of political stability and security vouched for by an ‘A’ credit rating by rating agencies Fitch and S & P.

RAK has gone from the forgotten Emirate to the unforgettable one! It’s clear the time to invest there is now.

(Sources for Statistics: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Department Authority).

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