Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) announces its comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy that will see the nature-based Emirate become the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025.
The strategy maps out key steps for the Emirate to secure long-term sustainability that will drive overall tourism growth objectives and contribute directly to national and international climate change and environmental policy commitments. The guiding principles for Sustainable Tourism in Ras Al Khaimah include: delivering authentic tourism experiences through preservation and conservation, taking an industry wide focus that provides both economic productivity and sustainable development, improving the quality of life and well-being of citizens and residents with a community based approach and setting environmental goals based minimizing the industry’s carbon footprint and contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Commenting on the launch of the new strategy, Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “The far-reaching effects of the pandemic brought into razor focus the need more so than ever to accelerate our environmental tourism agenda. However, instead of focusing only on one area – the environment – we broadened our approach to address all areas of sustainability ranging from cultural preservation, employee mental well-being to industry wide protocols and carbon emission goals.”
He further added: “With the theme ‘Rise Together’ at this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), the time is right to signal to industry investors that sustainable considerations need to be top of mind for long term investment and hospitality development in a destination.”
The Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy follows the Authority’s earlier announcement of over 20 new sustainable tourism initiatives across the Emirate marking an investment of half a billion dirhams in partnership with RAK Hospitality Holding and RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These projects center on the Emirate’s new destination strategy that focuses on nature, leisure, adventure, accessibility and authenticity. Appealing to those seeking safe and expansive experiences in the new normal of travel, all projects are purpose built with sustainability standards and processes.
As part of its ongoing sustainability efforts, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority works with EarthCheck, the global environmental experts, to co-create and implement sustainable practices that address key sustainability and climate change issues facing the tourism industry. The Authority also run a scholarship programme with the American University of Ras Al Khaimah focused on tourism related educational programming. Furthermore, in partnership with the Ras Al Khaimah Public Services Department, the Authority has launched the “Green Hotels Rating” 2021 initiative, taking place for the fourth consecutive year, that aims to achieve 100% integrated sustainability in all of Ras Al Khaimah’s hotels.
The Authority has also recently rolled out a high-impact investment initiative in partnership with Arton Capital, a leading government advisory company, to boost tourism and investment. The new initiative, SelectRAK, provides an array of benefits to investors including long-term residency based on criteria outlined by the government. By enhancing the appeal of Ras Al Khaimah for investment, the initiative will help build all core economic sectors, including healthcare, hospitality, education, trade, and retail, in turn, creating new jobs and supporting domestic enterprises.
The fastest growing destination in the region, Ras Al Khaimah was named the Gulf Tourism Capital for both 2020 and 2021 by the Gulf Cooperation Council and set a global benchmark in becoming the first city in the world to secure the Bureau Veritas Safeguard Label and World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travel Stamp. In recognition of the number of progressive policies in place that promote employee well-being, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority was also certified as a ‘Great Place to Work’ in the Middle East 2021, the first and only organization to be awarded this certification in Ras Al Khaimah.