The United Arab Emirates has broken records with the opening of the world's longest zip line. With it it the small Emirate Ras al-Khaimah hopes,in terms of tourism, to step out of the shadow of its big neighbor Dubai.
Measuring 2.83 kilometers (1.76 miles) in length, Guinness World Records officials certified the zip line in Ras al-Khaimah on the same day it opened to the public on February 1. It is 600 meters longer than the previous record holder 'The Monster' in Puerto Rico. With this new attraction tourism officials hope it will make Ras al-Khaimah the 'go-to' destination for global adventure tourists.
The Jebel Jais Flight takes thrill-seekers atop the country's largest mountain peak, from a launch pad 1,680 meters (5,512 feet) above sea level. For nearly three minutes, riders are suspended above the mountain as they fly head first 'Superman-style' up to a speed of 150 kilometers per hour past rocky terrain. The zip line is an impressive sight and a feat of engineering: two cables, meaning two people can race each other, hang from a launch platform dropping down to a suspended pad where riders land before being dropped off down the mountain.
It's the latest effort by the smaller, lesser-known emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, to attract more tourists and expatriate visitors from neighboring emirates like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which recently opened the world's longest urban zip line whizzing past towering skyscrapers. "We are in no hurry to construct the highest skyscraper or the biggest shopping mall here," says Haitham Mattar, the chief executive officer of Ras al-Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. He added: "Those things are already an hour's drive away."
In 2017 some 820,000 tourists visited Ras al-Khaimah. It is hoped that number will crack the one million mark in the next two years. The record zip line is to help accomplish this by attracting package holiday makers.