Ras Al Khaimah looks to build on record tourist figures with base jumping and bobsledding

Staycationers and tourists from green list countries boosted July numbers

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A record number of people flocked to Ras Al Khaimah in July as the emirate benefitted from a pandemic staycation boom.

About 110,000 people visited the emirate, known for its all-inclusive hotels, hiking, scenery and cooler climate.

Raki Philips, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority credited the successful month to visitors from green list countries and the opening of the 600-bedroom Hampton by Hilton hotel.

RAK successfully secured deals with airlines in Kazakhstan and Russia to land at RAK International Airport, he said in an interview with radio station Dubai Eye.

“We are open for business for anyone who is able to visit," Mr Philips said.

“Ras Al Khaimah is a case study in successful Covid-19 management, with thoughtful and progressive initiatives from robust safety measures, vaccination drives for travel and tourism workers, and free return PCR testing for international visitors, to targeted destination campaigns and a renewed focus on aviation collaborations.

“The combination of all these measures has led to steady and sustained recovery for the destination and renewed confidence for our tourism industry.”

There were 109,048 visitors to Ras Al Khaimah in July with more than 6,000 guests at the new Hampton by Hilton in the hotel’s first four weeks.

Last year, in the throes of pandemic restrictions there were just under 79,000 visitors to Ras Al Khaimah in July, while in 2019 the emirate welcomed more than 102,000 tourists.

New attractions in Jebel Jais

Mr Philips said the majority of the visitors were UAE residents, plus tourists from countries such as Poland, Russia and Kazakhstan, along with neighbouring Middle Eastern nations.

The tourism chief said he expected the strong showing to continue.

“We expect further growth for the second half of 2021, especially with the latest announcement that the UAE is now on the UK’s amber list, as well as our recent announcement of over 20 sustainable tourism development initiatives,” he said.

“We are investing half a billion dirhams into the destination, a move that includes several new nature-based, sustainable projects on Jebel Jais that are due to open in the coming months.”

The new attractions opening this winter include paragliding from Jebel Jais mountain and an Alpine-inspired toboggan, a bobsled ride which runs for about 2 kilometres.

The emirate will also be boosted by the reopening of 1484 by Puro, the world’s highest restaurant at 1,484 metres above sea level.

The Bear Grylls Explorer Camp, which opened at Jebel Jais last year, will also be extended to host 30 cabins.

The emirate will also soon be home to the first base jumping platform in the UAE for professionals who leap from cliffs and skyscrapers, then use a parachute to descend safely to the ground.

Luxury glamping will also be a vital part of the emirate’s tourist attractions with the opening of a 60-unit space that also offers guests the chance to learn how to become an agriculturist.

Updated: August 16, 2021, 1:52 PM