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Category Public Relations
Date 20 Nov 2018
High-level conference jointly organised by UNWTO and the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria at Sofia last week
Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), discussed the areas of collaboration between governments, regional policy makers and tourism boards in the development of historic tourism at a panel at the 2nd International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes, held on 15-16 November at Sofia, Bulgaria.
The annual conference, organised by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria, delved into the importance of historic routes and its role in safeguarding and promoting tangible and intangible cultural heritage, while creating socio-economic benefits for the communities and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As a member of the high-level panel, Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, added: “Tourists are now seeking more unique local tourism experiences, leading to a rise in the demand for responsible tourism. As a result, Middle Eastern countries are seeing the strong appeal of culture as a way to attract a much wider global travelling audience and consequently capitalise on more sustainable tourism sector growth rates in the coming years. We aim to offer truly authentic and nature-based cultural tourism experiences that will continue to attract and excite visitors, while remaining focused towards our sustainable tourism goals.”
Working towards achieving its Destination strategy 2019, 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 is on track to unveil its ‘Destination 2019-2021’ strategy in the last quarter of this year, which aims to sustainably grow the destination to attract 3 million visitors by 2025, in support the UNWTO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
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