Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has announced a long-term investment strategy designed to boost the growth and diversification of Jebel Jais – the highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates.
The announcement of continued investment underscores the resilience of the emirate and a desire to gather recovery momentum despite the challenges imposed this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The news was unveiled at AHIC on the Road, taking place this week in Dubai.
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, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, and Alison Grinnell, chief executive 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 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 unrivalled picturesque mountain views.
In addition, a mountain lodge, located adjacent to the 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 quarter two of 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.
Raki Phillips, chief executive 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 honoured 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.”
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.