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Ras Al Khaimah : What is Balanced Tourism for them?

Hot Air Ballon in Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah or the Nature Emirate is one of the seven emirates of UAE. The destination isn’t new to me, but all its green and sustainable efforts have made me look at it with newer eyes. During my 2 month stay in Dubai in 2016, I did hear about Ras Al Khaimah from my friends, but I couldn’t visit it at that time. I have never regretted that missed opportunity but now. A press meeting in Delhi last month, really made me sit up and notice that the Emirate has come a long way. It has evolved into a much sought-after destination for luxury and adventure travel. And it was even better to hear that the Emirate has channelized all its energy and momentum towards its vision of becoming the region’s most sustainable destination by 2025. There couldn’t be a better time to have a bold and aggressive approach toward sustainability. It is high time that both travellers and tourism boards become passionate about the environment, culture, conservation, and livability. It seems like Ras Al Khaimah has taken these terms to its heart and is pitching for conscious, purposeful, green, and balanced tourism. Let us find out what does it mean to them and how are they doing it?

Balanced tourism in Ras Al Khaimah
Suwaidi Pearl Farm traditional boat

What is Balanced Tourism for Ras Al Khaimah?

‘Balanced Tourism’ is not just a concept or trendy term for Ras Al Khaimah but a goal to be achieved step by step. The Emirate is blessed with splendid nature and owns a coastline of 64 kilometers. Nature, adventure, wilderness, and outdoor experiences are their core strengths. And to maintain its sanctity, they are already attentive to the fact that they must create a destination that resonates with today’s responsible travelers.

The tourism board is already working on reducing carbon footprint and contributing to the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals. It is highly applaudable that they have identified and acknowledged the need for delivering authentic tourism through preservation and conservation. The development projects are in full swing but the tourism board is also ensuring a mindful approach toward protecting the environment. All hospitality partners are being guided to ensure spacious venues, with thoughtful, sustainable landscaping. And new properties have been limited to just two per year, to avoid rapid, less well-planned expansion and overcrowding. Isn’t it wonderful?

Some of the highlights of Balanced Tourism are Sustainable Development, Cultural Conservation, Attractions with Purpose, Community and Liveability, etc. Below are the key points that really impressed me. They are important to keep in mind when we plan our vacations and choose our holiday destinations, especially those who care for the environment.

Jebel Jais Mountain in Ras al Khaimah
Jebel Jais Mountain

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority has been….

  • Working in collaboration with hotels to ensure sustainable practices.
  • Pushing the new properties to comeup with natural and sustainable materials.
  • Embracing the concept of liveability. They have taken up a a series of initiatives aimed at enriching connectivity, community life and facilities for tourism sector employees in the Emirate.
  • Taking up cultural conservation on a very serious note. They are saving and restoring their last surviving pearl diving and sea faring towns of the Arabian Gulf.
  • Building all the upcoming attractions with purpose, sustainability standards and processes.
  • Benchmarking and Minimizing energy, water usage and waste generation across the destination.

Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “The need for good stewardship of our cultural heritage, environment, people and infrastructure has never been stronger, especially in post pandemic times. Balanced Tourism does exactly that as we become ever mindful of the economic, social and environmental impacts on tourism. Simply put, it’s time to move beyond just using less plastic to adopting an all-inclusive approach – from ensuring new projects such as hotels are developed at an organic pace to building new attractions with sustainability at their core.”

Al Rams - Suwaidi Pearl farm
Nature Emirate – Ras Al Khaimah

Why should we travel to RAS AL KHAIMAH? What are the things to do?

I am as curious as you are. I have been to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Shajah but not Ras Al Khaimah. Therefore, I am looking forward to it someday soon. But for now, I have been curating things to do. Dhayah Fort, a castle-like structure, has got my eye already. And is also on the tentative list of UNESCO Heritage Sites. Ras Al Khaimah is actually fortified. It has 65 forts. Are the history lovers excited already?

The Jebel Jais mountains and Wadi Shawka are nothing less than a treat for nature lovers. Also, Ras Al Khaimah is blessed with 65 kilometers of coastline, with mangroves, fish, and flamingoes. Do we need to know more? Yes, a little more to call it a perfect getaway. The Emirate offers luxury resorts, beautiful and spacious hotels, and lots of good food. Indians are always on the lookout for pretty places for their weddings. Check out Ras Al Khaimah. It does look promising.

The Emirate has an abundance of adventure activities. In UAE, the desert activities are a highlight and dune bashing goes unsaid. There is the zipline, sky tour, diving, hot air balloon ride and more. RAK Airventure, a brand-new tethered hot air ballooning experience, has become exclusively available at Manar Mall from 30th April 2022.

I am a sucker for history, art, and culture and I am keenly interested in exploring the Suwaidi Pearls Farm, Al Jazirah Al Hamra, and little villages around them. And no trip to Ras al Khaimah seems to be complete without exploring the Al Qawasim Corniche.

How to travel? Emirates is the best choice if you wish to plan Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah together. There is Spice Jet which flies directly.

A pre-departure PCR test is no longer required if you are fully vaccinated. All you need is a proof of vaccination.

Pictures- Courtesy : Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Board!

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