What makes RAK such a Key Tourist Destination?
Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism goal is to become a global tourism destination and move away from its historic status as a low-key weekend getaway for local UAE residents and instead transform into an international destination in its own right.
Fast forward to 2017 and times are rapidly changing, particularly as reduced economic sentiment and austerity measures hit travel in other parts of the region, coupled with many other factors such as Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Department Authority (RAKTDA), which has the enviable aim of attracting 1 million tourists to the emirate by the end of 2018. RAKTDA has also been spearheading efforts to boost Ras Al Khaimah’s standing on a global level through new tourism schemes, advanced marketing efforts and a host of visitor activities, trade shows, events and strategies.
Key to RAK carving its own niche as a local, regional and global tourism haven, it can draw on many other benefits that make Ras Al Khaimah stand out from its neighbouring Emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi that focus more on city weekend breaks and luxury hotel stays only. A huge plus point for RAK is its nature and adventure tourism and RAKTDA investing in a growing number of experiences to highlight its combination of mountainous terrain, sandy beaches and terracotta sand dunes and stunning landscapes.
Among the most prominent efforts in recent months has been the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata (Iron Path) adventure challenge in the Hajar Mountains, which has 3 climbing, trekking and zip line paths, which are up to 400m above sea level. Jebel Jais itself is the tallest peak in the UAE and attracts thousands of visitors a year on its own and RAKTDA has also just announced a Record-breaking tourist attraction set to open on Jebel Jais – the world’s longest zip line, set to open in December of this year, which will be longer than the current 2.5km world record holder in Puerto Rico. In addition to this, the mountain is also in the development stages of a huge observation deck, which will feature stunning viewing spots 1,300m above sea level, with picnic areas as well as a visitor’s centre and even food trucks. Just another unique and astonishing attraction of epic proportions, as the emirate continues its push to become one of the world’s top travel destinations.
RAKTDA is also planning to capitalise on the so called ‘glamping’ trend with a luxury camp designed to serve as a base for visitors to experience nature and embark on hiking, mountain biking and adventure excursions. This will include comfortable bedding, family tents, a community centre, fire pits and evening barbecues.
All these hospitality projects and huge tourism increases will see RAK’s hotel offering expand significantly between now and 2020, with its ‘Destination Ras Al Khaimah Tourism 2019’ vision targeting 1.1 million visitors by then and AED 2.4 billion in tourism revenues by 2019 too. RAKTDA expects that 4,445 new rooms will open in the Emirate by 2020, ranging from 3 to 5 star properties, with a large portion of these located on the $1.8bn Al Marjan Island development, which is a cluster of 4 pristine man-made islands.
Going beyond 2019, by 2025 an additional 16 hotels are expected to join the existing Rixos Bab Al Bahr, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Resort and Spa Marjan Island and Marjan Island Resort and Spa – managed by AccorHotels.
With its dedicated focus on tourism, increased leisure demand and growth in hospitality performance, it’s no surprise that Ras Al Khaimah has become a true tourism and investor haven on a truly global scale.