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Sustainable Travel Tips for Exploring Ras Al Khaimah, the Nature Emirate of the UAE

Sustainable travel is on the rise, with 75% of global travellers stating that they want to travel more sustainably, according to a recent survey by Booking.com. This reflects a global desire to reduce ecological footprints

Sustainable travel is on the rise, with 75% of global travellers stating that they want to travel more sustainably, according to a recent survey by Booking.com. This reflects a global desire to reduce ecological footprints and embrace eco-friendly practices. On World Environment Day, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) is keen to guide visitors with tips on how to make sustainable choices when visiting the Emirate. From participating in eco-friendly activities and supporting locals to respecting the environment, there are numerous approaches visitors can take to embrace sustainable travel, preserving the natural beauty of Ras Al Khaimah.

1. Learn about the Emirate’s Sustainability Accreditations Ahead of Your Trip

According to Booking.com travellers face challenges in accessing sustainable options, with nearly half (44%) unaware of where to find such attractions and accommodations, despite 43% being willing to pay more for sustainable-certified choices.

To help travellers make more informed choices and to nurture a tourism industry that is economically, environmentally, socially sustainable and supports liveability for its citizens and workforce, RAKTDA is working with EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking and certification programme for tourism destinations. As the Emirate sets its sights on becoming a regional leader in Sustainable Tourism, Ras Al Khaimah became the first destination in the Middle East to be awarded Silver Certification by EarthCheck last year. This is a first in the Middle East. EarthCheck’s rigorous process involves monitoring and auditing across 10 sustainability indicators – from energy and water consumption to waste management, carbon footprint analysis and community engagement. The Emirate outperformed the baseline average in three significant areas, reporting a performance that was better by 23% in energy consumption with savings of 12.4 gigajoules since 2021, 29% in greenhouse gas emissions equating to a saving of 1.8 million tonnes of CO2, and 61% in waste output, leading to savings of 420 million litres since 2021.

2. Make Smarter Flight Choices and Stay for Longer

As air travel emissions contribute to 20% of a tourist’s carbon footprint1, travellers are urged to adopt several small steps to reduce their impact on their next trip. These include packing light to reduce the plane’s load and opting for direct flights over connecting ones to minimise fuel consumption. Visitors can easily access Ras Al Khaimah by booking direct flights from the UK or Ireland to Dubai, followed by a short drive or a bus journey to reach this captivating destination.

Furthermore, travellers can opt for longer stays not only to immerse themselves in the local community and discover hidden gems beyond popular tourist attractions, but also

contributes to reducing CO2 emissions and pressures on infrastructure and land. For instance, visitors can maximise their stay in Ras Al Khaimah with an excursion to Musandam, Oman as the perfect addition to their holiday, with unmissable attractions and breathtaking views of The Hajar mountain range over both destinations. Located just a 90-minute car journey from the natural wonders of Ras Al Khaimah, Musandam promises a dual adventure, with its high-octane mountain activities and rich, intertwined history and cultural heritage. Public transportation is accessible to and from the Oman region, with a one-way bus ticket starting at just £10 per person.

3. Low Impact Activities

Choose to partake in activities with minimal impact on the environment. With Ras Al Khaimah’s reputation as the adventure hub of the Middle East, hiking stands out as a prominent feature of the Emirate’s adventurous spirit. With ten trails catering to various skill levels, the Emirate promises scenic vistas, including the beginner-friendly Wadi Showka trail and the challenging Wadi Ghalilah Dam. Alternatively, visit the region’s first cultured pearl farm, Suwaidi Pearls, a leading national institution in Ras Al Khaimah and the nation’s only remaining pearl farm, providing locally sourced pearls to jewellers across the world. The pearl farm was founded by Abdulla Al Suwaidi, the grandson of the last pearl diver in Ras Al Khaimah, and it is completely eco-friendly, utilising naturally bred, hand-seeded oysters and solar panels to power the harvesting, promoting the use of renewable energy and conservation in the UAE. Visitors can embark on a traditional pearl diving boat to Suwaidi Pearls where they can delve into the cultivation process and evolution of the pearling industry while enjoying views of the Hajar mountains and lush mangroves.

4. Support Local Businesses

In Ras Al Khaimah, supporting locals directly enhances authentic cultural experiences and boosts the local economy. In the heart of the Jebel Jais, guests can eat out locally by enjoying sustainably sourced meals prepared by local tribesmen at Camp 1770 and hire a local guide from Adventurati Outdoor for tailored hiking tours. Indulge in leisurely strolls, full-day hikes or weekend adventures, exploring the jagged peaks of the millennia-old mountains for a unique, summit-inspired wellbeing experience in nature, complimented by traditional Emirati food.

5. Stay in Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Ras Al Khaimah’s hospitality scene leads the way with eco-consciousness, with 24 hotels and attractions having already earned the “Responsible RAK” Silver Certification for sustainability practices meeting standards measured and verified by EarthCheck. For instance, Rixos Bab Al Bahr has comprehensive waste management strategies, including food waste digestion and recycling initiatives. The resort actively engages in sustainability training and community initiatives, including beach clean-ups and donations to the UAE food bank during Ramadan. Similarly, Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island prioritises sustainability with initiatives such as water-saving aerators, digital key card access, and offering Accor sustainability training for staff, supported by EarthCheck and Green Globe certifications. Additionally, the Bear Grylls Explorer Camp uses recycled cabins, ensuring eco-friendliness in the mountainous landscape.

6. Learn about the Culture and Heritage of Ras Al Khaimah

With over 7,000 years of fascinating history, traditions and culture, Ras Al Khaimah promises an authentic and easily accessible Arabian experience. Dhayah Fort, the UAE’s

sole remaining hill fort, dating back to the Late Bronze Age (1600-1300 BC) and stands as an important historical monument. Visitors can climb the rocky terrain to reach spectacular views of mountains extending to neighboring Oman. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera Al Hamra, the only remaining historical pearl diving village in the Gulf, holds a cherished place on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites Tentative List. Reflecting thousands of years of classic Middle Eastern architecture, this vibrant neighborhood boasts a fort and watchtowers, mosque, souk, and a variety of intricately designed courtyard houses. As part of the Emirate’s Balanced Tourism strategy, RAKTDA has invested in a three-phased restoration programme at Al Jazeera Al Hamra, with an aim to preserve the history of the archaeological site while making it accessible to visitors to discover first-hand accounts of the local culture.

7. Respect Wildlife and Nature

Known as the nature Emirate of the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah boasts stunning natural landscapes, including 64km of pristine beaches, lush mangrove trees and terracotta dunes, as well as fertile, green oases and the dramatic, awe-inspiring vistas of the majestic Hajar mountains. Visitors are encouraged to respect nature by avoiding pollution, staying on designated trails, and preserving wildlife habitats. With its diverse flora and fauna, Ras Al Khaimah provides distinctive opportunities for nature lovers, including encounters with exotic plants, endemic wildlife like the Arabian Tahr, and rare birds such as the Socotra Cormorant. The mangroves are a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to flamingos, cormorants, western reef herons, Kalba collared kingfishers, and greater spotted eagles. By respecting and appreciating its natural wonders, visitors can enjoy the beauty of Ras Al Khaimah while ensuring its preservation for future generations.

Visit https://visitrasalkhaimah.com for more information.

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. RAKTDA aims to develop the Emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the Authority has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the Emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.



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