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RAS AL KHAIMAH NAMED ‘FAVOURITE ADVENTURE DESTINATION’ IN GCC’S PREMIER TRAVEL INDUSTRY AWARDS
Middle East honour recognises emirate’s major strides in activity tourism
Ras Al Khaimah has been named the GCC’s ‘Favourite Adventure Destination’ at the 2017 Condé Nast Traveller Middle East Readers’ Choice Awards – the region’s premier travel industry honours.
The award recognises the major strides the emirate has taken to develop international-standard adventure and activity tourism offerings centred around Jebel Jais – the UAE’s highest mountain peak which towers 1,934 metres above sea level. These include the opening of the immensely successful Jebel Jais Via Ferrata – the region’s first commercial ‘iron path’ – which sees intrepid travellers hike, climb and zip line against the stark Hajar Mountain backdrop.
“What is particularly encouraging about this award is that it has been voted for by the magazine’s readers – the people who try our experiences and rate them,” said Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), which develops and regulates the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions. “We therefore view it as a resounding vote of confidence in the emirate and our efforts to transform it into the region’s adventure destination of choice.
“It is also significant that this year’s awards were focused on the future of luxury travel, including experiential, authentic and off-the-beaten-path approach to travel. Ras Al Khaimah answers these specific demands and is consistently demonstrating that luxury travel means more than sitting by an infinity pool. We hope that this recognition also provides added confidence to the many developers now eyeing the emirate as a high potential location for the development of exciting resort and wellness product within our mountain, beach and desert landscapes.”
The award was presented to RAKTDA at a glittering ceremony at the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel.
Ras Al Khaimah is focusing on adventure and wellness tourism as a means of leveraging its considerable natural assets including mountain terrain, sweeping coastline and expansive desert and its ancient heritage much of which dates back 7,000 years.
“Authenticity and differentiation are now key to our strategy of attracting a million visitors to the emirate by the end of next year. We have more exciting products in the pipeline, including the imminent opening of what we intend to be the world’s longest zip line which will deliver an experience which is unique within the region.”
Prior to the award ceremony Mr Shaji Thomas, Executive Director Tourism Development, RAKTDA, participated in a panel discussion on ‘Going Local In A Globalised World” during the Conde Nast Traveller Luxury Forum among the UAE’s leading travel personalities.
“Our contention is that future success lies in Ras al Khaimah staying authentic to its culture and heritage with experiences that measure up on an international scale and which nurture and sustain global appeal,” said Thomas. “Through our strategy tourists can expect to find a destination of distinct individuality which equally provides all the necessary requisites of international demand, including provision of a range of quality accommodation and service excellence.”
Furthering the emirate’s transformation into an international adventure and activity destination, RAKTDA has a number of additional adventure tourism projects in the pipeline that will further enhance the visitor experience. These include the opening of the Viewing Deck Park on Jebel Jais, which will feature a series of viewing platforms to serve as a base camp for hikers and bikers as well as a multi-purpose events arena, picnic areas, numerous walking paths and a dedicated food truck zone.
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