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Photo Caption:Michel Julian, Programme Officer, Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness, UNWTO/John Koldowski, Professor, Leshan Normal University, China & Special Advisor, PATA/ David Airey, Professor, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, UK/ Haitham Mattar- Chief Executive Officer of RAKTDA
Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) presented the vision, strategy and latest developments in the sustainable tourism agenda of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah at the UNWTO and PATA Forum, themed under “The Future of Tourism- Road to 2030” in China.
In its 12th edition, the event is being organized by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), providing a platform for global tourism practitioners and policy makers to share best practices, analyse and explore opportunities and challenges that will affect the future of sustainable development goals. As part of the event Mattar delivered a keynote speech on “Sustainable Tourism Development – an overview and vista towards 2030”, where he delved into the key areas of focus and implementations that Ras Al Khaimah is undergoing.
Ras Al Khaimah’s journey towards being a sustainable tourism destination was formally communicated in January 2016 – when RAKTDA launched Destination 2019, a detailed tourism strategy for the Emirate which was produced after extensive research and analysis.
In partnership with the Waste Management Authority, RAKTDA has put recycling guidelines in place for the Emirate’s hotels, as part of the Emirate-wide initiative to reduce landfill waste by 75% by 2021.
RAKTDA has focused on transforming the destination’s natural gifts into tourism assets to benefit all. Through launching sustainable adventure-based projects on the UAE’s highest mountain Jebel Jais – and positioning it as the nature adventure hub of the Middle East, RAKTDA is complementing the offering of the neighbouring Emirates. These include the Arabian Gulf’s first commercial Via Ferrata (iron path) which features hiking and zip-line challenges, the viewing deck park and Jebel Jais Flight: the world’s longest zip-line which launched in February 2018.
Similar projects are being planned across the Emirate’s pristine coastline, natural mangroves and throughout historical sites including the pearl farming village Jazirat Al Hamra and Dhaya Fort. A luxury camp project in Jebel Jais is also in development and RAKTDA is in talks with hotel operators and investors for this unique, eco-tourism project which complements the array of adventure tourism attractions on offer in the Emirate.
The Emirate’s updated Destination 2021 strategy will see RAKTDA take the next step by further integrating sustainability into its plans for the development of tourism which will support the UNWTO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
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