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WTM

09 Nov 2016

BY Tom Parry

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Ras Al Khaimah irons out its activities market

Ras Al Khaimah is looking to position itself as a leading activity holiday destination within the UAE, as it gears up for the launch of a new climbing facility.

Haitham Matter RAK.jpg

The emirate will unveil the Via Ferrata complex - Italian for “iron path” - on November 17, comprising three climbing routes as well as a trio of zip-lines within the Jebel Jais Mountains – the tallest in the UAE.

 

Speaking at WTM London, chief executive of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Development Board Haitham Matter said the opening of the complex would enable the emirate to expand its range of holiday offerings.

 

“Having these mountains is a unique selling point for Ras Al Khaimah compared with the other emirates of the UAE, so it is very important for us to harness them and use them to increase tourism.”

 

Matter also spoke about plans to create a “luxury mountain camp” accommodation facility within Jebel Jais, with the Tourist Development Authority hopeful of welcoming guests to the property in the fourth quarter of next year.

 

He also revealed that Ras Al Khaimah was currently in the development process of building “the world’s longest zip-line”, which it hopes to unveil during the same period in 2017.

 

“At the moment we are known for being able to offer the sun and the beach, but with these new facilities they can give us another reason for travellers to come and also stay longer than they normally would.”

 

Matter said the new offerings were designed to aid in achieving the emirate’s target of welcoming three million holidaymakers by 2025.

 

A key focus in achieving this goal he said would be in UK visitor numbers, which saw an increase of more than 28% from January to September this year, with 35,000 Brits travelling to Ras Al Khaimah during the period.

 

Matter said he believed the figure showed the resilience of the British market, the emirate’s second largest (Germany holds the top-spot), despite the slump in value experienced by sterling following June’s Brexit vote.

 

“Brexit is not necessarily a benefit for us but it reinforces to us that British travellers will come to us in good times and bad. Not only are we seeing more travellers from the UK, but they are also staying longer which shows our facilities are exceptional.”

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