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RAK is the slower, quiet cousin emirate to the flashiness of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is rapidly rising in tourism ranks.
Long a favorite with adventure-seekers who pilot their 4x4s through twisting wadis and those looking to experience things like camel racing October through March, Ras al-Khaimah is now solidifying itself as a destination for mainstream tourists. Its national carrier, Ras al-Khaimah Airways, is offering cheap flights in the region, as well as to and from Britain, and hotel brands like Doubletree and a Waldorf-Astoria, which is set to open this year, are jumping on board…there were about one million visitors last year, up from 885,000 in 2011, and he expects 1.2 million in 2013. He noted that beachside hotel rooms in the emirate cost up to 40 percent less than similar rooms in Dubai.
Unlike Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah is not oil-rich and is relying on its rapidly growing tourist infrastructure — besides hotels, there’s a new emphasis on promoting the emirate’s ancient sites, rare for a country that celebrates the new and flashy — to keep pace.