Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Ziplines, hiking trails and an upcoming bungee jump: how Ras Al Khaimah is turning itself into a must-visit spot

The country’s northernmost emirate has witnessed a record number of visitors this year

Ras Al Khaimah’s corniche. The northern emirate is an increasingly ppopular staycation spot for UAE residents. Reem Mohammed / The National
Ras Al Khaimah’s corniche. The northern emirate is an increasingly ppopular staycation spot for UAE residents. Reem Mohammed / The National

Ras Al Khaimah is making its push as the UAE's favourite place to staycation.

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council's (WTTC) first Middle East and North Africa Leaders Forum held in Ras Al Khaimah on Wednesday, October 2, Raki Phillips, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, revealed that the emirate had received record arrival numbers in August this year.

Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. The emirate wants to welcome 3 million tourists by 2025. Courtesy RAK
Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. The emirate wants to welcome 3 million tourists by 2025. Courtesy RAK

Staycations and domestic travel are the number one summer travel trends for residents in the UAE, says online accommodation platform Airbnb. Summer data from Airbnb saw Ras Al Khaimah receive a 66 per cent boost in year-on-year summer visitor numbers.

The emirate has positioned itself as an adventure destination and is already home to the world’s longest zipline. This winter season it is set to add a host of new activities to the area, including a suspended obstacle course, hiking trails and a bungee jump, the first in the Middle East.

Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman to scale the world’s seven summits, has been invited to be the first to leap from the 1,500-metre-above-sea-level bungee, set to open later this month.

Six new hiking trails will also be launched in October.

Ras Al Khaimah has positioned itself as an adventure emirate and six new hiking trails will open in the emirate later this month. Anna Nielsen For The National
Ras Al Khaimah has positioned itself as an adventure emirate and six new hiking trails will open in the emirate later this month. Anna Nielsen For The National

Early next year, the emirate will open the Bear Grylls Survival Camp. This hardcore survival skills retreat will be located on Jebel Jais, the UAE's highest mountain.

There will also soon be plenty more hotels for staycationers to choose from with Anantara, Intercontinental, Movenpick and Marriott all set to open new properties in the north.

The plans are all part of the emirate’s mission to welcome three million visitors annually by 2025.

Ambitious as that may seem for an emirate where fewer than 500,000 people live, it’s not impossible, says Phillips.

“We have the Expo coming in 2020 next March, that’s a great event for us, the whole country, the whole region. Last week, the UAE’s first astronaut took flight," he said during the forum. "What a remarkable achievement. It shows nothing is impossible. The boundaries of the impossible are in our hands."

Updated: October 3, 2019 12:28 PM

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