Zip the world’s longest line in RAK
Ras Al Khaimah will launch the world’s longest zip line in December, accompanied by an Observation Deck that will offer a grand view of the Persian Gulf. Shaji Thomas, Director-Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah, discusses future plans for th
QWhat can we look forward to in RAK? Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), as a destination, is a striking contrast to Dubai. Traditionally, RAK was always a beach destination. Our USP is the cultural history of 7,000 years, the 64-km pristine coastline and our unique asset - Jebel Jais Mountain. Jebel Jais, at 1934 m, is the highest peak in the UAE that lends itself to experiential travel and most of our activities are centred around this asset. Last year in November, we opened Via Ferrata, an iron path which is a guided climbing trail on the mountain and three zip lines at 50 m, 60 m and 300 m. Via Ferrata could accommodate 16 travellers a day and it was a resounding success with 86 per cent occupancy, so much so that we have expanded this facility and will be reopening it in October this year to accommodate 100 travellers every day. We will very soon be opening an Observation Deck at 1300m, which could be one of the highest observation decks in the region. This will be an activity centre and will offer a breathtaking view of the Persian Gulf. In December, we will be opening the world’s longest zip line at 1800m with which we will enter the Guinness Book of World Records. Currently, the longest zip line is in Puerto Rico, which allows zip lining over a distance of 2.2 km but our zip line will allow zip lining over a distance of 28 soccer fields. By the end of 2018, we plan to have 10 such zip lines and travellers will be able to enjoy this activity 24 hours a day.
QPlease share insights into the India market. India is our fourth largest international market preceded by Germany, UK and Russia. Last year, we received 37,000 Indian arrivals to RAK and we are sure that this year, looking at the phenomenal growth, we will surpass this figure and India will cross the 40,000 mark. Earlier, Indians used to stay 1.9 nights in RAK, which has now increased to 2.25 nights. The discerning Indian traveller is our rightful audience. In 2015, we became a popular destination for boutique Indian weddings. We started with four weddings in 2015, which increased to seven in 2016 and in 2017 we will be hosting 17 weddings in RAK.
QWhat is RAK’s growth strategy? Our India growth strategy is gradual. Currently, we have 5,400 rooms and the most ambient time to travel to RAK is from October-May. Our growth strategy and inventory expansion plans are interdependent. Thus, our short-term strategy is to reach a million tourists by 2018 in which India will play a very significant role and will continue to be the fourth largest market contributor to this growth. However, we want to focus on Indian boutique weddings, honeymoon travel and experiential travellers from India.
Our short-term strategy is to reach one million tourists by 2018 in which India will play a
Shaji Thomas Director-Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah