Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has unveiled a sustainable tourism strategy in which it has pledged to become the regional leader in environmentally-conscious tourism by 2025.
The tourist board’s Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy maps out key steps for the Emirate to secure long-term sustainability, which it says will drive overall tourism growth objectives and contribute to national and international climate change and environmental policy commitments.
Its guiding principles include delivering authentic tourism experiences through preservation and conservation; improving the quality of life and wellbeing of citizens and residents with a community-based approach; and setting environmental goals based on minimising the industry’s carbon footprint and contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Unveiling the new strategy at World Travel Market 2021 in London, RAKTDA chief executive Raki Phillips said the tourist board had partnered with sustainable tourism company EarthCheck to develop a “realistic, achievable sustainability plan to be a truly certified sustainable destination by 2025”.
Rolled out across “numerous” phases, Phillips said the strategy included the creation of a sustainability tourism group to introduce “key sustainable protocols” and a scholarship programme with the American University of Ras Al Khaimah focused on tourism related educational programming.
In addition, RAKTDA has launched a Green Hotels Rating 2021 initiative in partnership with the Ras Al Khaimah Public Services Department, which aims to achieve 100% integrated sustainability in all of the destination’s hotels.
The tourist board also recently unveiled more than 20 new sustainable tourism initiatives across the Emirate in partnership with RAK Hospitality Holding and RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry centred on nature, leisure, adventure, accessibility and authenticity.
“Sustainability is a huge and important factor being a nature-driven Emirate,” Phillips said. “It’s not just a buzzword, it’s actually something that we’re putting into effect. It has been something that hotels have done for numerous years but we’re taking it to the destination level.
“[Sustainability] has been a huge focus for us and something that we’re quite passionate about, not just for the environment, but also from an economic and cultural perspective.”
RAKTDA also unveiled a new logo as part of a wider campaign designed to showcase the Emirate as a natural outdoor environment.
The new Rakashida logo is inspired by the kashida from Arabic calligraphy – the line that connects letters to form a word – and reflects the peaks and valleys that represent the Emirate’s three key natural elements and values: the sea, the desert and the mountains.