Revealed: summer toboggan run among RAK's plans for Jebel Jais tourism

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority unveils long-term tourism investment strategy for the UAE’s highest mountain

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority on Tuesday announced its long-term investment strategy aimed to boost the growth and diversification of Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain.

The plans include a pop-up hotel concept, scheduled to open in the second half of 2021, which will introduce cliff side accommodation with mountain views, and the Jais Coaster, a summer toboggan/bobsled concept inspired by the Alps, which will open in Q2 2021.

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The announcement was made at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) which is being held virtually this week.

The plan underscores the emirate’s resilience and recovery momentum despite the challenges imposed this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the World Economic Forum Covid Action Platform, travel preferences and patterns have changed, leading to renewed interest in less crowded destinations. 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 with the Jebel Jais experience.

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.

As well as the pop-up hotel concept and the toboggan run, a Mountain Lodge, located next to the emirate’s renowned hiking trails will provide luxury accommodation when it opens in 2022.

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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, slated to open later this year.

A food and beverage village is also set to open in the latter half of 2021.

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.

The world’s first Bear Grylls Explorers Camp was recently announced and is scheduled to open on October 16.

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “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.

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority

“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, added: “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.”

The emirate said it 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.

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