New investment strategy set to further develop the Emirate’s outdoor nature-based offering on Jebel Jais with sustainable tourism experiences
As part of this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority announces its long-term investment strategy aimed to boost the growth and diversification of Jebel Jais – the UAE’s highest mountain. This announcement of continued investment underscores the Emirate’s resilience and recovery momentum despite the challenges imposed this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, AHIC will bring together key industry leaders and stakeholders in a new format featuring a combination of physical and virtual sessions, which will be attended by Raki Philips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and Alison Grinnell, CEO of RAK Hospitality Holding.
According to the World Economic Forum COVID Action Platform, travel preferences and patterns have changed, leading to renewed interest in less crowded destinations. Within this context, a key trend that has emerged is Nature Tourism, since it offers travellers a combination of social distancing, discovery and connection with nature, all of which aligns seamlessly with the Jebel Jais experience. From a broader destination perspective, Ras Al Khaimah’s diversity in landscape and offering makes it an ideal for visitors looking for comfort and security in expansive settings and where social distancing is easier to practice in serene surroundings on the mountains, on the coast or in the desert.
Various government sectors of Ras Al Khaimah, including RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry have worked together to identify a long-term investment strategy that will create ongoing funding for the development of nature-based tourism attractions on Jebel Jais. All projects and builds will be developed in the most sustainable way possible in order not to disrupt the mountain eco-system but rather to enhance knowledge and understanding of conservation.
The Emirate’s new phased investment strategy will focus primarily on developing Jebel Jais as a standalone destination by further diversifying its offering through several new nature-based projects including a pop-up hotel concept, scheduled to open in the second half of 2021, which will introduce unique cliff side accommodation with unrivaled picturesque mountain views. In addition, a Mountain Lodge, located adjacent to the Emirate’s renowned hiking trails will provide luxury accommodation when it opens in 2022. Tourists will also get to experience the mountain from a completely different perspective by winding through gorgeous scenery with the Jais Coaster, a summer toboggan/bobsled concept inspired by the Alps, which will open in Q2 2021.
Adding yet another first to its diverse offering, Jebel Jais will also be the home Sky High Meetings, the first-of-its-kind highest meeting room in the UAE ideal for business meetings and gatherings against the backdrop of the Hajar mountains, slated to open later this year. Friends and families will have another reason to head to the peak for a day out in the fresh air where they can enjoy drive through food trailers, kiosks, retail containers, vintage truck restaurants, cafés, rest area, and a kids playground area at the Food & Beverage village opening in the latter half of 2021. And with temperatures that are around 10 degrees lower than sea level on the peak, visitors will be able to enjoy the beautiful weather while engaging in a game of miniature golf at the putt-putt facility opening by the end of this year, which comes complete with a fully equipped driving range where golfing enthusiasts can hit biodegradable balls far into the open and clear expanse the of the mountain valleys.
The upcoming projects on UAE’s highest mountain will join the existing attractions including Jais Adventure Peak which serves a gateway to the various attractions on the iconic mountain, including the World’s Longest Zipline and 1484 by Puro- the highest restaurant in the UAE. Moreover, the world’s first Bear Grylls Explorers Camp was recently announced and is scheduled to open on 16 October, bringing the mountain experience to life.
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “Seeing the tourism and hospitality sectors unite during this period and pivoting in response to challenges imposed by the pandemic has been truly inspiring. We are honored to be part of this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) and look forward to sharing Ras Al Khaimah’s experience in navigating through these times with a focus on building a stronger destination, as a result. Our road to recovery is still in its early phases, but we have already seen significant uplift in the tourism and hospitality sectors’ performance leading to Ras Al Khaimah having the strongest RevPAR performance in the GCC.”
“With the introduction of our new investment strategy, we aim to allocate additional funds towards Jebel Jais, one of the Emirate’s key landmarks, to enrich visitor experiences and to accommodate the increasing demand for travel experiences set in expansive, open and natural environments” added Phillips.
Alison Grinnell, CEO of RAK Hospitality Holding shared: “Ras Al Khaimah’s journey towards recovery has been remarkable despite all the uncertainties imposed on the travel and hospitality sector over the past year. Announcing our long-term investment strategy is yet another positive step towards a stronger comeback, and it demonstrates the Emirate’s extraordinary efforts to continue developing its offering, especially on Jebel Jais, to meet travellers’ new expectations and needs. We are also proud that despite these unprecedented circumstances, we continue to evolve the Emirate’s tourism offering with the introduction of new projects such as the world’s first Bear Grylls Explorers Camp opening in October and another first – 1484 by Puro, the highest restaurant in the UAE.”
The Emirate is also assigning considerable funds to enhance the infrastructure on Jebel Jais and facilitate easier access for visitors and improve their overall experience on the mountain. Some of the key areas of focus range from public camping spots, night hiking trails to a base jump platform, e-bikes and an electric car charging station.
Ras Al Khaimah’s larger investment vision can be found at investraktourism.com which allows potential investors and partners to learn more about the destination and to become part of upcoming developments that will shape the future of the Emirate.
Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is the northernmost of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is known for its rich history, dating back 7,000 years, and diverse landscape, from 64km of pristine beaches, to terracotta deserts and an imposing mountain backdrop. The Emirate is home to the highest peak in the UAE, Jebel Jais, standing at 1,934 meters and featuring the world’s longest zip line, at almost 3km.
Ras Al Khaimah is also centrally located at the modern crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa, with one third of the world’s population within four hour’s flying time, making it an ideal location for businesses to expand into the UAE, the Middle East and Africa and beyond. Indeed, the World Bank’s Doing Business report ranks Ras Al Khaimah 30th out of 190 economies for ease of doing business.
With year-round sunshine, straightforward business set-up and a competitive and affordable cost of living, Ras Al Khaimah is the informed choice for business, lifestyle and travel.
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to attract 1.5 million visitors by 2021, and 3 million visitors by 2025, the Ras Al Khaimah TDA aims to develop the Emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the Ras Al Khaimah TDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the Emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.