To say that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted global economies would be to put it lightly. Since early 2020, much of the world has been forced into some variation of a lockdown, urging quarantines and social distancing while keeping businesses closed. Now that vaccinations are on the rise, with the UAE having particular success in getting people vaccinated, it looks like travel will be back on the menu in the near future.
With travel opening up and the world starting its slow return to normalcy post-COVID, the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is making big moves by offering new connector flights from the surrounding areas, including destinations in Kazakhstan.
Let’s take a closer look at how Ras Al Khaimah is preparing to cement itself as the next adventure destination for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike, all while emboldening a return to pre-COVID normalcy.
Welcome to Ras Al Khaimah
The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is one of the seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates. The Capital City of RAK, or RAK City, is home to most of the residents, linking to the trading port of Julfar.
Nestled at the northernmost fringe of the UAE, along Musandam and its peninsula, Ras Al Khaimah has been referred to as the “top of the tent” for the UAE. While not traditionally beholden to the same riches and natural resources of other members of the UAE, RAK Ruler Sheikh Saud has sought to find value through tourism, outdoor adventure, and extreme sports. This has been exemplified by a multi-year effort led by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
With the added wrinkle of COVID, a return to athletic normalcy and outdoor adventure will require some level of assistance from the RAK government, an action that is currently being undertaken by Raki Phillips, CEO at the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Phillips said, “I’m cautiously optimistic we will start seeing a wider recovery from markets (…) that we rely heavily on.” Phillips would go on to describe how the anticipation for the RAK government is for continued improvements throughout the rest of the 2021 year, offering higher performance rates that underscore economic recovery.
Despite optimism for recovery in the near term, the RAK government understands that each lockdown measure puts things farther away from normalcy, a particularly devastating blow for a country requiring tourism to recover. To offset potential delays in a return to normalcy, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is looking at building networks and expanding potential flight schedules to Ras Al Khaimah, starting with SCAT Airlines and their decisions to offer eight flights weekly between eight cities in Kazakhstan and RAK. The eight cities currently listed by SCAT Airlines as destinations for Ras Al Khaimah include Aktau, Aktobe, Almaty, Atyrau, Oral, Karaganda, Nur Sultan, and Shymkent.
Salem Al-Qasimi is the Chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation and RAK International Airport. Al-Qasimi released in a statement that diversifying flights will help to “increase the emirates economic diversification.” Al-Qasimi would go on to underscore the importance that tourism would play as well as its central nature in the RAK economy. Other expansions into foreign markets right now include India with flights through SpiceJet coming from New Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai, and finally Amritsar.
According to Phillips, flight connections and networking expansions are not being chosen at random. Instead, Phillips and his team are focusing on a meticulous and ‘surgical’ approach to signing new aviation agreements. Philips said, “The close we are to a destination, the more attractive it is.”
Explore the Outdoors in Ras Al Khaimah
Even though Ras Al Khaimah is one of the smallest emirates in the UAE, they certainly make their presence known in the extreme sports and outdoor adventure spheres. With a hot and arid climate around the year and very mild winters, average temps only drop to 54-degrees F during the coldest months, with highs of 120-degrees possible during the summer. As a result of these incredible temperatures, year-round outdoor adventure destinations await the excited travelers who desire them.
Let’s briefly highlight a few exciting places you can visit during a trip to Ras Al Khaimah, potentially thanks to the expanded airline services highlighted by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
1. Jebel Jais – Are you beholden to great views? Do you love seeing the world from atop a mountain? How do you like your adrenaline? The longest zipline in the world can be found atop Jebel Jais, the leading mountain range in the region. Traveling to the summit, guests will ride a zipline over the mountain alley below as they hit speeds pushing 120km per hour. The views are incredible, the platform halfway through is suspended in midair, and you will surely never forget this experience!
2. Fujairah Beach – Even with all of these outdoor adventures available, some adrenaline junkies like to slow life down for an afternoon on the beach. Fujairah Beach is located on the Gulf of Oman in the Emirate of Fujairah, this immaculate beach is fantastic for families looking to enjoy sparkling waters and unmatched views from the comfort of their towel.
3. Bear Grylls Explorers Camp – Nestled in the heart of the Jebel Jais Mountain Range is the Bear Grylls explorers Camp. Visitors looking for an outdoor adventure to remember can book vacation packages through the explorers camp to maximize their experience in Ras Al Khaimah. While Bear does not personally oversee the camp, the spirit of his work resonates with everything that happens. Right now the Explorers Camp is trying to boost numbers, so interested parties are better served to reach out today!
Ras Al Khaimah is much like the other emirates in the region, brimming with beauty both natural and manmade. With COVID-19 finally offering hope of an ending to the pandemic, travelers might want to start researching where they’ll go when they book their trip to Ras al Khaimah! Are you ready for an adventure?