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

TravTalk - India - - NEWS - ANKITA SAXENA

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

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