AJMAN // With unspoilt beaches, majestic mountains and competitive prices, tourists from the UAE and around the world are flocking to the Northern Emirates.
The Ajman Tourism Development Department said 552,220 tourists have stayed in hotels this year, compared to 509,658 last year, said Faisal Al Nuaimi, general manager of the department.
In Fujairah, more than 760,000 visitors stayed in hotels, a 6 per cent increase from last year.
Tourists said the prices, quieter roads and scenery is what attracts them to the north over Dubai.
Ibrahim Abdulsalam, 18, a student from Sweden, said he loved the calm ambience of Ajman.
“In Sweden, we only hear about Dubai and the Burj Khalifa and we do not hear about other emirates.
“During my first visit to the UAE in January, I visited various places in Dubai, such as Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and JBR, but I found Ajman is a quieter place and free of congestion.”
Melissa Guezel, 25, an Austrian bank clerk, was spending her honeymoon in RAK at the Cove Rotana Resort.
“We were planning to go to the UAE but we didn’t really know where to go, so we contacted a travel agency and explained our requirements with them and they recommended us to come here.
“I found RAK to be beautiful and enchanting with no stress, just as we wanted. It is authentic and not artificial like other locations.”
Mark Double, 52, a British education consultant, lived in the UAE for 20 years before moving home. He now holidays in the UAE and prefers Ajam.
“The restaurants, supermarkets and accommodation are cheap. I have booked an apartment because it is much cheaper,” Mr Double said.
In Fujairah, the Hajar mountains, historic monuments and beaches are some of the reasons that make it such a popular tourist destination.
“When I come to Fujairah I feel like I have travelled to another country,” said Ivana Bajanic, a 26-year-old Serbian who works in Dubai.
“The beach is different and the weather is smoother and softer, my friends came to dive while I came to enjoy the weather and the clear water.”
Ms Bajanic and her friends were spending a three-day holiday in the Hilton Fujairah Resort.
“This is not our first time and we really enjoy the calmness of the city and its picturesque scenery,” she said.
Jessica May, a British teacher working in Dubai, said that Fujairah shows off the true Emirati culture and history.
“This place is rich with historical places that tells the story of the emirates, It’s my first visit of many more to come as I really do enjoy the peacefulness of the Emirati and how it takes you away from the city’s fast paced lifestyle,” said.
Omar Souab, general manager of Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort, said the hotel was planning to attract 50 per cent international travellers and 50 per cent visitors from neighbouring Emirates.
“Our key target markets in addition to the UAE, are UK, Germany, GCC, Russia, as well as Scandinavian countries,” said Mr Souab.
“We also strive to be pioneers in the luxury segment, and to pave the way for more brands to set base in this Emirate, and to contribute to the continuous development of the international positioning of the region,” he added