Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced that it will develop a comprehensive sustainable tourism plan, based on a detailed UNWTO assessment of current performance and future opportunity.
The announcement comes post RAKTDA’s official sponsorship of the UNWTO International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017, with the main objective being to promote a more sustainable global tourism landscape.
Sustainable tourism growth has been a part of Ras Al Khaimah’s destination strategy since 2016. The new report will help RAKTDA take the next step by further integrating sustainability into its Destination 2021 strategy to guide the development of tourism over the next 12 years until 2030.
One of the major projects that will form part of the development roadmap will be a sustainable luxury camp on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain. The luxury camp will offer spectacular mountain views and feature the latest technology to minimise energy consumption and conserve water.
A dedicated programme will also be used to minimise waste to protect the mountain range 2,000 metres above sea-level. RAKTDA are currently in final negotiations with hotel operators and further announcements will follow.
CEO, RAKTDA, Haitham Mattar declared: “Ras Al Khaimah is one of the region’s fastest growing tourism destination and whilst we embrace this growth it’s fundamentally important that we retain a position of destination sustainability. We have made some great strides as part of our Destination 2019 strategy but as we plan for the future we want to take the next step and guide the development of tourism in the run up to 2030.
“The UNWTO is helping us shape our sustainable master plan which will focus on environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects to position Ras Al Khaimah as the first sustainable tourism destination in the UAE. A destination that will be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come.”
As well as following the UAE Federal Sustainable Development Goals as part of Vision 2021, Ras Al Khaimah has put in place a number of initiatives, including a waste management programme to reduce landfill waste by 75 per cent by 2021 and set up a Renewable Energy Office in the emirate in late 2017.
RAKTDA has also focused on transforming its natural gifts into tourism assets to benefit all. Over the last few years, the authority launched three new eco-friendly adventure-based projects on the UAE’s highest mountain Jebel Jais – positioning it as the nature adventure hub of the Middle East and complementing the offering of the neighbouring emirates.