Ras Al Khaimah throws down adventure tourism gauntlet with world’s longest zipline
Just a heads up to bucket list tourists and thrill-seekers everywhere: Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah has been officially recognised by Guinness World Records to have the longest zip-line in the world!
Located over 1,680m (1.68km) above sea level, Jebel Jais Flight recently opened on the UAE side of the Al Hajar mountain range after more than a year of planning, construction and testing. At 2.83 km – the equivalent to over 28 soccer fields and spanning the entire Jebel Jais peak’s chasm – with a cable weighing more than 6 tons, no less than HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, ruler and Supreme Council member of Ras Al Khaimah received the ‘world’s longest zip-line certification’ from Hoda Khachab, official adjudicator of Guinness World Records.
Guinness World Records MENA country manager Talal Omar applauded the record-breaking destination launched by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). “We have witnessed countless achievements in the Middle East, and as the global authority on record-breaking we are always proud to be a part of such great feats every day,” he said. “The certification event for Jebel Jais Flight highlights an extraordinary attraction that now puts Ras Al Khaimah with UAE as a global primary destination.”
“This is a great achievement for Ras Al Khaimah’s international tourism ambitions,” said RAKTDA CEO Haitham Mattar. “We are now receiving our largest-ever number of visitor arrivals and are expecting to see an increasing number of adventure tourists coming from across the globe to try this bucket list experience.”
Jebel Jais Flight uses measures to keep adventure enthusiasts safe and secure. Zip-line riders must gear up with special suits and equipment before they are lifted up and made to ‘fly’ headfirst in the ‘Superman’ position. Timed to last roughly three minutes, they arrive on a suspended landing platform unique to Jebel Jais Flight. From here they return to solid ground through a second line, measuring 1km. No age restrictions apply, but riders must be at least 120 cm tall and weigh between 45 to 150 kg.
Adrenaline junkies will be thrilled to know that Jebel Jais Flight operations are handled by Toro Verde, the global zip-line authority. Toro Verde COO Ricardo Lizano shared, “Toro Verde brings to Ras Al Khaimah immense zipline management experience earned through previous projects in Central and South America, including Toro Verde Puerto Rico – the ‘Monster’ which, at 2.2 km, previously held the zip-line record now claimed by this ambitious emirate.”
“The Jebel Jais Flight will cement Jebel Jais as the adventure tourism hub of the Middle East” – Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
Toro Verde Ras Al Khaimah CEO Jorge Jorge said, “The zip-line actually comprises two main cables, allowing friends and family members to experience and race together, adding to the fun and competitiveness of the facility. While the time and speed they complete the flight in depends on weight and weather conditions, the whole experience is expected to last around two to three minutes, with top speeds reaching between 120km and 150km per hour.”
How does RAK plan to recoup its Jebel Jais Flight investment, which runs up to nearly US$6 million? Jorge had an answer for this: “The whole experience costs AED650 (approximately US$177) per head. We anticipate the attraction accommodating a rider every five minutes on the two zip-lines, equating to roughly 200 people per day and around 100,000 per year. We also believe we can operate during the summer months, given that Jebel Jais is traditionally 10 degrees cooler than average UAE temperatures.”
Taking advantage of the rugged Al Hajar mountains within its territory, the Ras Al Khaimah emirate is building up Jebel Jais into its flagship adventure and activity tourism product. In line with its Vision 2019 Destination Tourism strategy to promote Ras Al Khaimah as an ‘authentic, accessible Arabian experience’ beyond beaches and desert dunes, RAKTDA plans to integrate Jebel Jais Flight with the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata (Iron Path) adventure tour that was opened in late 2017 to walkers, hikers and cyclists. Besides adding more zip-lines to Jebel Jais Flight, the tourism board will open a viewing deck park with a multi-purpose events area and food truck zone close to the mountain’s summit.