Ras Al Khaimah Pioneering Sustainable Tourism in the Middle East

In a notable landmark for sustainable tourism in the Middle East, the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been awarded Silver Certification in EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations program. This recognition marks an outstanding achievement in the journey towards sustainability within the tourism sector, making Ras Al Khaimah the first destination in the Middle East to attain this prestigious level of sustainability certification. The announcement comes at a crucial time, with the United Nations’ climate change conference, COP28, set to be held in the UAE in late November, primarily focusing on global emissions reduction targets.

EarthCheck’s certification process is a rigorous evaluation based on scientific criteria involving benchmarking, monitoring, and auditing across 10 sustainability indicators. These indicators encompass various critical areas, including energy and water consumption, waste management, carbon footprint analysis, and community engagement. The comprehensive nature of the evaluation underscores the commitment and dedication of Ras Al Khaimah to sustainable practices within the tourism industry.

The region’s challenging climate makes Ras Al Khaimah’s sustainability certification all the more remarkable. The arid environment necessitates a robust approach to managing energy and water consumption to meet EarthCheck’s stringent requirements. This accomplishment showcases not only the commitment of the local authorities but also the innovation and adaptability of Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism sector.

Raki Phillips, the Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, emphasized the significance of the Silver Certification in Ras Al Khaimah’s broader goal to become a leader in sustainable tourism in the UAE and the Middle East by 2025. He expressed gratitude to the local tourism community for their unwavering commitment to achieving EarthCheck’s Silver Certification. This recognition validates Ras Al Khaimah’s dedication to sustainable tourism and aligns with the ambitious target of welcoming over three million visitors by 2030.

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has gone a step further by introducing its sustainability certification program for tourism businesses, known as Responsible RAK. This program is powered by EarthCheck’s scientific data and is designed to engage various stakeholders actively. More than 20 tourism businesses in Ras Al Khaimah are part of the Responsible RAK program. These businesses are measuring their environmental impact and taking concrete steps towards sustainability, making the emirate a true model for others to follow.

Numerous tourism businesses in Ras Al Khaimah have already achieved Responsible RAK Silver Certification. These include well-known entities such as Al Hamra Beach, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Jais Flight (home to the world’s longest zipline), SAFARAK Travel and Tour company, Jais Sledder, among others. This demonstrates the wide-reaching impact of sustainable practices within the emirate’s tourism sector.

Ras Al Khaimah also forges partnerships with leading operators and developers who prioritize sustainability. Notable among these is Wynn Al Marjan Island, known for its dedication to sustainability best practices. Wynn Al Marjan Island has earned certifications such as LEED Platinum and Four Green Globes for its buildings, reflecting a commitment to the highest sustainability standards in its operations and developments.

In a region known for its luxury and tourism appeal, Ras Al Khaimah is a shining example of how sustainable tourism can coexist with beauty and luxury. The Silver Certification in EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations program signifies that the emirate is committed to preserving its natural treasures and strives to be a global leader in sustainable tourism. As the world converges for COP28 in the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah’s journey towards sustainability inspires the tourism industry worldwide, underlining the importance of harmonizing environmental responsibility with the quest for unforgettable travel experiences.