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Category Public Relations
Date 18 Oct 2018
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority announced its recent partnership with The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), on project PROTECT, an initiative carried out in partnership with the University of Surrey. As per the agreement Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority will become the official sustainable Tourism Sponsor for 2018-2019.
AITO, The Specialist Travel Association, provides its members with guidelines stating that travel must benefit host communities, respect local cultures, protect the environment and conserve natural resources.
Project PROTECT (People, Resources Outreach, Tourism, Environment, Conservation, Tomorrow) was created by AITO and the University of Surrey to help encourage and guide members to adopt better practices in sustainable tourism and to focus on environmental protection in the areas their customers visit. All 120 AITO members are committed to making travel more sustainable; their ethos is that those who live in the places their customers visit should benefit directly from tourism.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority commented: “Ras Al Khaimah boasts an abundance of natural assets and a rich cultural heritage which offers a compelling destination for visitors seeking authentic culture and nature based Arabian experiences. Our Destination Strategy for the Emirate incorporates Sustainable Tourism as a core pillar that is crucial for a thriving tourism industry, and involves multiple facets from protection of the environment, promotion of eco-tourism, to preservation of local heritage and job creation. This partnership with AITO is an effective way of further engaging tour operator partners and travellers in an initiative that will deliver meaningful and measurable impact.”
AITO is holding its annual overseas conference in Ras Al Khaimah from 22-25 November, 2018. Members will be able to see and hear first-hand about the sustainability work being carried out in the Emirate.
Kate Kenward, AITO’s Executive Director, says: “Project PROTECT is part of a joint programme with the University of Surrey, headed up by Professor Xavier Font and his colleague Morwenna Severin. So far, the initiative has helped over half of AITO’s members to formulate annual, measurable pledges to help PROTECT our fragile earth and its people. We are grateful for the support provided by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority for our sustainable tourism work. RAKTDA reflects a similar ethos to AITO’s in their own work and we are pleased to be able to align our knowledge and expertise with theirs.
AITO Chairman, Derek Moore, adds: “It’s time destinations led the travel industry in assessing and monitoring the impact of travel from a sustainability perspective. Special interest travellers such as AITO member clients help considerably in this area as they disperse beyond the main tourist areas to lesser-known regions in pursuit of their experiences.”
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