Ras Al Khaimah: Campaign analysis, influencers to work with and everything brands need to know

Posted by Chloe James in Case studies

1 month ago

Less than half the size of Dubai and 40 times smaller than Abu Dhabi, it’s unsurprising that Ras Al Khaimah gets less press than its buzzier counterparts.

The emirate is located in the north of the UAE, bordering Oman and the Jebel Jais mountains. Infamously quiet and remote, it’s long served as a getaway spot for UAE residents. Now the government wants to make it a vacation destination for global tourists – and it’s armed with the digital strategy to make it happen.

Key takeaways

  • Recruiting influencers to promote Ras Al Khaimah as a tourist destination has sent Google searches for the emirate soaring since 2019.
  • Content produced in the emirate almost exclusively focuses on its tourist and outdoor attractions.
  • Campaigns in Ras Al Khaimah typically use a blend of local and international creators to appeal to both UAE residents and global tourists.
  • Few creators actually live in Ras Al Khaimah. Those who do produce content almost exclusively in Arabic, unlike those based in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Visit Ras Al Khaimah

According to Google data, interest in Ras Al Khaimah (locally known as RAK) has been slowly creeping up since 2019. It’s no coincidence that that’s the same year the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority launched its official Visit Ras Al Khaimah Instagram, which marked the beginning of a long-term influencer project – #RAKCalling – that’s seen international and local creators promote the emirate online.

Most of these partnerships leaned into RAK’s most unique quality: outdoor experiences. These are rare in a country as hot as the UAE, meaning they pull in both locals and tourists.

Dubai-based travel creator Sherif Fayed became the first person to paraglide over the Hajar Mountains to promote the new Jais Wings experience (0.2% engagement rate). Fellow Dubai creator Enjy Kiwan – who typically covers fashion and beauty – shared a Reel of her time hiking in Jebel Jais (0.5%). Hanan Mazouzi Sobati, founder of the female-focused cars collective Arabian Gazelles, was also invited to take on the area’s tight but picturesque mountain, highlighting how “there’s never a dull moment in Jebel Jais” (1.6%).

As part of #RAKCalling, the Tourism Authority gathered together a wider group of local creators to produce a mass video campaign. The likes of presenter Fiona Erdmann, lifestyle creator and activist Jessica Kahawaty, and DJ Dany Neville filmed their highlights – including Das Desert Camp Sonara Camp al Whadi, the Jais Sledder, and the UAE’s highest restaurant, 1484 by Puro – which were compiled into a pseudo-group chat video (1.1%).

Coming from further afield was Swiss menswear blogger Marvin Walker (The Swiss Gentleman), who teamed up with Visit Ras Al Khaimah to document his adventures through the emirate. His desert safari proved especially popular with his audience (3.9%). He was gifted a stay at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah as part of his trip, as was New York-based photographer and lifestyle creator Alex Seifert, who conducted a mini photoshoot at the emirate’s heritage site (0.5%).

Influencer campaigns

Beyond official campaigns conducted by the Tourism Authority, other campaigns using Ras Al Khaimah as a backdrop have driven attention to the emirate.

The biggest is, of course, the infamous Tarte trip in January. While plenty of outlets mislabelled the trip as a visit to Dubai (despite that being three emirates down), the trip was actually based at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. A blend of international creators – including Alix Earle, Monet McMichael, Azra and Aisha Mian, and Meredith Duxbury – and regional influencers such as Abeer Sinder, Layan Salem, Jay Sajer, Laila Mourad, and Haneen Al Saify spent several days indulging in all the activities Ras Al Khaimah has to offer. In between quad biking, camel rides, and dinners in the desert, they shared plenty of content shot at the resort, amassing an estimated combined 140 million views on TikTok.

Once people realised that the creators were, in fact, in Ras Al Khaimah – not Dubai – there was a spike in Google searches for the emirate. Content tagging the resort itself also generated strong engagement, including a #GRWM post from American beauty guru Sarah Wolak (6.3%).

Influencers in Ras Al Khaimah

While it may be increasingly serving as a backdrop for successful influencer content, one of the most notable details is that few – if any – of these influencers actually live in Ras Al Khaimah itself. The emirate has a population of just 115,949. For context, Dubai has a population of 3.49 million.

The UAE’s mandatory influencer licence also costs just 3,550 AED (£760) in RAK, compared to Dubai’s 11,550 AED (£2,464) price tag, which reflects demand in the area.

If you are looking to collaborate with a creator well-versed in Ras Al Khaimah, the go-to is Mona Tajarbi. Often hailed as RAK’s “first influencer”, the Emirati vlogger primarily covers beauty, boasts 1.2 million Instagram followers, and was named one of the Top 50 Inspiring Women at the Arab Women Summit in 2022.

To capitalise on the emirate’s outdoor scene, see local rock climber Khalifa Alghafri. He takes on courses from all over but is a regular in Jebel Jais in particular, having worked with the likes of phone brand HONOR and watch brand Bell & Ross on campaigns that use the mountainside as a backdrop.

Dermatologist Meead Mustafa covers beauty and skincare with the occasional dose of fashion, while Barbie (StyloChiiic) shares modest fashion and beauty content. Worth noting is that, unlike creators based in Dubai, influencers in Ras Al Khaimah almost exclusively produce content in Arabic.

By Chloe James, CORQ Middle East correspondent. Picture credit: Azra Mian via Instagram