Adventure seekers are in for some real thrill as Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is all set to launch the first phase of the world’s longest zip line at mountain Jebel Jais this December. Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, shares upcoming plans and agenda.
What was the reason behind starting the world’s longest zip line in Ras Al Khaimah?
Jebel Jais has long been a favoured destination for travellers and visitors to Ras Al Khaimah, who partake in a number of adventure activities, or to enjoy the views from the UAE’s tallest peak. Building on the success of last year’s launch of the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata adventure product, the new zip line represents Ras Al Khaimah’s most significant tourism product opening since Al Marjan Island, our coral-shaped leisure tourism archipelago.
As part of our wider tourism strategy, and in line with our goal of attracting one million visitors to the emirate by the end of 2018, RAKTDA is investing significantly in developing products and attraction tourism stakeholders who will add value and appeal for a greater number of travellers to Ras Al Khaimah. We believe the world’s longest zip line, which will instantly become a bucket list attraction, will add considerable appeal to the destination.
What importance does this zip line hold for tourism in Ras Al Khaimah and how long will it take to develop?
The zip line is a key product launch for Ras Al Khaimah and will enhance its unique mountain-beach-desert offering. Once we achieve the Guinness World Record as the longest and highest zip line, it will form a very successful tool in strengthening the awareness of the destination globally. In terms of increased visitors, during its initial opening, the zip line will be able to accommodate around 250 people a day, that’s 100,000 a year and will further stimulate visitor numbers to the emirate.
The initial phases of the project have already been completed earlier this year, this involved feasibility studies, design and master-planning, extensive surveys, soil tests, land planning and construction simulations. Construction began last month, and will take approximately 3.5 months and is scheduled to be complete ready for a December opening.
What is your target audience for this tourism product?
A key target market for the zip line will be active adventurers and those looking to fulfill bucket lists. However, it is not a niche product and we will be promoting it across core and emerging markets for visitors of all ages. The only restrictions are that participants must meet the minimum and maximum weights of 35 kg and 150 kg, and be more than 120 m tall.
What can RAK offer to tourists other than those seeking adventure?
Since launching Ras Al Khaimah’s Destination 2019 strategy, RAKTDA has worked with key stakeholders and investors to develop the emirate as an all-round destination for all traveller interests within a sustainable growth strategy, and an added value for tourism in the UAE. In addition to offering fantastic value for money, RAKTDA has focused on promoting our amazing natural landscapes. We offer diverse and exciting new products, in addition to the world’s longest zip line, coming online later this year and we are optimistic of continued growth from all key markets for the remainder of the year and beyond. In line with our Affiliate Membership of the UNWTO and the UN’s Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, RAKTDA has instigated various initiatives to maximise the economic and social benefit from tourism.