A new approach to sustainable tourism: Balanced Tourism

A new approach to sustainable tourism: Balanced Tourism

In Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, the Tourism Development Authority pioneers a new approach to sustainable tourism.  It is that of Balanced Tourism.  But what can all surrounding ancient wisdom teach us about sustainability?

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority pioneers new approach to sustainable tourism: Balanced Tourism

By Theodore Koumelis in Travel Daily News of 10 May 2022.

Suwaidi Pearl Farm traditional boat

Announced at the 2022 Arabian Travel Market, the Tourism Authority shares vision to become the region’s most sustainable destination by 2025 with ambitious new approach at the heart of the Emirate’s tourism strategy.

New Delhi, India – Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) announces its bold new approach to sustainability – Balanced Tourism, a key milestone in its strategy to drive overall sector growth and become the regional leader in sustainable tourism by 2025.

Unveiled at the Arabian Travel Market 2022, the region’s leading travel and tourism event, the vision underscores the Emirate’s leadership in conscious tourism and aligns with its identity as a nature destination with a desire to progress, grow and evolve.

Under the all-encompassing banner of Balanced Tourism, the Authority is shaping tourism in the UAE by placing all aspects of sustainability (environment, culture, conservation and livability) at the center of its investment and development strategy. By ensuring issues surrounding ‘over tourism’ – such as over development, crowding of heritage sites, and the spoiling of its unique natural environment – are avoided, it is creating a destination that will resonate with today’s responsible traveller.

Balanced Tourism follows the Authority’s announcement in September 2021 of its Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy to secure the Emirate’s long-term sustainability and drive overall growth through four key pillars: Sustainable Development; Cultural Conservation; Attractions Built with Purpose; and Community and Liveability.

Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “The need for good stewardship of our cultural heritage, environment, people and infrastructure has never been stronger, especially in post pandemic times. Balanced Tourism does exactly that as we become ever mindful of the economic, social and environmental impacts on tourism. Simply put, it’s time to move beyond just using less plastic to adopting an all-inclusive approach – from ensuring new projects such as hotels are developed at an organic pace to building new attractions with sustainability at their core.”

Sustainable Development

Known as the ‘nature Emirate’, Ras Al Khaimah boasts 64km of pristine beaches, mangroves abundant with wildlife, rolling terracotta deserts, impressive wadis and stunning mountains. These natural assets form the backbone of the destination’s key values, and their protection is a key focus. With this in mind, the tourism board has applied a mindful approach to new hotel developments, consulting with hospitality partners to ensure spacious venues, with thoughtful, sustainable landscaping, and maintaining a measured pipeline, limiting new properties to just two per year, to avoid rapid, less well-planned expansion and overcrowding.

As the licensing authority for all new hotel developments, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is able to set guidelines and protocols to regulate sustainability standards and work closely with hotels to ensure sustainable practices. This includes the recently announced integrated Wynn Resort, scheduled to open in 2026, that will be developed as per the Barjeel Green Building Regulations. There is also Earth Hotels Altitude, an eco-based pop-up hotel concept set to open on Jebel Jais in Q4 2022 featuring 15 fully fitted accommodation units, an activation center and swimming pool, and Saij Mountain Lodge, opening on Jebel Jais in 2023, a protected and sustainably managed mountain resort featuring sustainable lodges made from natural and sustainable materials.

Cultural Conservation

The integrated approach also includes cultural conservation. In addition to being the most fortified Emirate, with over 65 forts due to its importance as a trade route, Ras Al Khaimah is home to four archaeological sites which are tentatively on the UNESCO World Heritage site list, more than any other Emirate. The Authority has established a long-term investment plan to protect and enhance these and other key cultural projects. This includes Suwaidi Pearls Farm, the only site in the UAE which still cultivates local pearls, all done by hand to preserve the Emirate’s culture and traditions. It has also embarked on a three phased restoration program at Jazirah Al Hamra, one of the last surviving pearl diving and seafaring towns of the Arabian Gulf. Scheduled to complete in 2025, experts are working in line with UNESCO guidelines to restore the village, using traditional and sustainable materials, to potentially make it accessible to the public as an attractive tourist destination.

Attractions with Purpose

Under the Balanced Tourism platform, all upcoming attractions will be purpose built with sustainability standards and processes. Visitors can expect environmentally conscious development around Jebel Jais as well as across the more than 20 new sustainable tourism initiatives being developed across the Emirate. One example is the planned Scallop Ranch at Al Hamra Marine, a first of its kind attraction in the UAE that will support and enhance understanding of the marine ecosystem, with seagrass and sea cucumber species within the farm.

Community and Liveability

In addition, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority is also embracing the concept of liveability as part of its Balanced Tourism ethos. This includes several progressive policies in place to promote employee well-being, leading to the Authority to be named the sixth best workplace in the UAE by Great Place to Work® for 2022 in the Small & Medium Organisations category, the highest placed government entity. It was also named one of the Best Workplaces for Women and a Great Place to Work in 2021, the first and only organization in Ras Al Khaimah to be awarded this certification. The Authority has also introduced RAKFAM, a series of initiatives aimed at enriching connectivity, community life and facilities for tourism sector employees in the Emirate.

Sustainability as a driver of growth

Led by the Authority in December last year, government entities, hotels and private sector industries came together at the 2021 Global Citizen Forum in Ras Al Khaimah to pledge collectively to deliver the Emirate’s Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy that will see it become the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025. Led by the Authority

  • Providing a framework for action across a diverse program of activity, the guiding principles include:
  • Protecting and enhancing the Emirate’s cultural and natural heritage
  • Delivering new sustainable tourism developments
  • Working with business, government and community partners to ensure economic returns from tourism investment and the development of human capital
  • Regular measurement and benchmarking
  • Minimizing energy, water usage and waste generation across the destination
  • Respecting and safeguarding local culture and communities
About the author
Theodore Koumelis, Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

 

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

A story by Bea Mitchell on blooloop of 15 Jun 2021 illustrates well the ambitions of those countries around the Red Sea in terms of diversified economic development. It is about the Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan. The employment of Jordanian people will obviously improve as of this summer. But not only; here is the story.

The picture above is for illustration and is of Mashable ME.

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, the first world-class water park in Aqaba and the largest in Jordan, is scheduled to open on July 3.  

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark in Jordan features more than 25 rides, slides and experiences across more than 28,500 square metres. It opens in Aqaba on July 3.

The water park’s rides and attractions are inspired by Jordan’s iconic landmarks, including Dead Sea Drop, Wadi Rum Race and Aqua Jerash.

Dead Sea Drop guests will take a vertical plunge, while Wadi Rum Race is a competitive multi-racer. Aqua Jerash features play attractions for young guests, including slides, waterfalls and rotating water jets.

“We are excited to announce that Saraya Aqaba Waterpark will be the first of its kind waterpark in Aqaba and the largest in the kingdom,” said Chris Van Der Merwe, general manager of Saraya Aqaba Waterpark.

25 rides, slides and experiences

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

“At Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, guests from Jordan and around the world are in for an aquatic adventure like no other with slides, rides and experiences suitable for guests of all ages.

“The water park has been carefully designed with families in mind and as such guests can expect a family-friendly environment, both in and out of the water.

“We are looking forward to welcoming you at Saraya Aqaba Waterpark for unforgettable memories that will last for a lifetime,” added Van Der Merwe.

Also opening at the water park is the Rose City Diner, alongside refreshment kiosks around the park serving snacks, ice cream and drinks. The attraction’s signature shopping outlet is called Al Siq Souk.

Jordan’s landmarks inspire rides

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark is located within the Saraya Al Aqaba Residential City, which features a combination of residential, business, leisure and entertainment facilities.

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark was developed by Eagle Hills and is operated by Farah Experience LLC, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Miral Asset Management LLC.

“Over the years, Farah Experiences has garnered deep industry expertise managing and operating award-winning theme parks and attractions in Abu Dhabi,” said Julien Kauffmann, CEO of Farah Experiences.

Images: Eagle Hills Jordan

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan
Bea Mitchell

Bea Mitchell, A journalist specialising in entertainment and attractions, Bea loves theme parks (mainly Disney) and is particularly interested in things of a gothic, horror or fantasy nature

Upsizing could become key travel trend

Upsizing could become key travel trend

With the advent of the pandemic and its ensuing lockdown, life changed for the many peoples of the UAE. But of all aspects of life, travelling is to do with remote working and all its direct consequences reviewed here. So despite the Grim short-term Forecast for the Coronavirus-era Economy why upsizing could become a significant travel trend?

Upsizing could become key travel trend, says study

DUBAI, Financial situations worsening for consumers has been widely discussed amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, many consumers managed to bypass this financial squeeze and have incidentally become efficient savers. 

Upsizing could become key travel trend

This trend should not be overlooked by tourism companies which need to realise that not all travelers will be wanting a budget-friendly option for their next holiday, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

With saved cash that has accumulated during the pandemic, many travellers may be planning to spend more than usual on their next trip. 

According to GlobalData’s survey, when global respondents were asked if they were concerned about their personal financial situation, 13% stated that they were ‘not concerned’. Although this is still significantly less than the 34% that stated they are ‘extremely concerned’, it means that over one in ten of the global travel market could be financially unaffected by the pandemic and have even saved a considerable amount.

Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Many of the travellers that make up this 13% are likely to be white-collar workers that can work effectively at home. Due to spending the vast majority of their time being confined to their homes in the past year, the urge to travel would have built up. This urge, combined with a significant increase in savings, could mean that many of these travellers will have developed a ‘treat yourself’ mentality, to combat the impact of the pandemic which has increased boredom and frustration for many. This mentality could be present as these consumers start planning their next holiday, which could result in them spending more on room upgrades, business class flights and higher quality rental vehicles.

“As well as saving money on commuting, eating out and on other recreational activities, many of these consumers who have been unaffected by the pandemic have also saved by not booking a holiday last year, or by having their cancelled trip refunded. This could mean that for their next trip, they will go bigger and better on more luxurious travel services and products. This trend could also be driven by a ‘now or never’ mentality, as when travellers have the opportunity to go on holiday, they will spend significantly more and stay for longer in case another situation like the Covid-19 pandemic reoccurs,” Hollister said.  –TradeArabia News Service

8,000 new hotel rooms on their way to Turkey

8,000 new hotel rooms on their way to Turkey

TOPHOTELNEWSProjects in a Country overview: 8,000 new hotel rooms on their way to Turkey [Infographic] by Juliana Hahn is a succinct picture of the future hospitality situation of that country.

8 December 2020 

8,000 new hotel rooms on their way to Turkey
CGI of the proposed Mandarin Oriental Etiler development in Istanbul (Photo: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group)

Our researchers have checked the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database and found that Turkey’s hotel market will maintain consistent growth in established destinations over the coming years.

44 new hotels with 8,183 keys are in the pipeline across Turkey. We find out more about these upcoming openings.

Steady growth in the years ahead

Over the years, Turkey has established itself as a top destination for both business and leisure travellers, which has led to the country’s hotel market growing consistently. Our researchers have found that this trend is set to continue in the near future.

Five more launches with 893 rooms are still due before the end of 2020, all of which are already in the pre-opening phase. In 2021, 15 hotels with 2,254 keys will open their doors, while the country’s offering will grow by 14 properties with 2,438 rooms in 2022. Ten more projects are in the pipeline for 2023 and beyond.

The split between four- and five-star hotels will be almost even, with 21 properties falling in the four-star category and 23 in the five-star luxury sector.

Turkey’s key growth areas

The economic hub of Istanbul will get 16 additional hotels with 2,785 rooms in the coming years.

This puts it well ahead of the popular beach destination of Bodrum, which will add five properties with 493 keys. Meanwhile, the capital Ankara has three ongoing projects with 500 rooms in total.

International brands expanding in Turkey

Radisson Hotels & Resorts comes out on top on a brand-by-brand basis, with three new hotels and 553 rooms in the works.

There’s not a great deal in it however. Indeed, Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree by Hilton will also both open three properties apiece, albeit with just 505 and 480 keys respectively.

8,000 new hotel rooms on their way to Turkey

Noteworthy hotel projects in Turkey

In early 2022, Mandarin Oriental Etiler will open as part of a new luxurious lifestyle development in Istanbul’s fancy Etiler neighbourhood. There will be three towers in total, one of which will house the 409-room hotel, while the other two will be home to Mandarin Oriental-branded residences. The hotel will have three restaurants and bars, and a selection of adaptable meeting spaces with outdoor areas and terraces. There will also be a spa, fitness centre and pool.

Due to open in Q3 2022, the 240-room Radisson Hotel Apartments Delta Istanbul Esenyurt will be in the Esenyurt district, an up-and-coming area currently witnessing a veritable construction boom of new residential and retail complexes. From here, guests will have easy access to Ataturk Airport and the city centre. The hotel will be part of the Delta Holdings-managed Wish Istanbul, a 135,000 sq m mixed-use real-estate development consisting of two imposing towers, and boast an all-day-dining restaurant, a lobby lounge, a pool bar and grill, a conference centre, a spa and an outdoor pool.

Elsewhere, the 183-key Address Residence Istanbul will be part of a mixed-use development near Emaar Square and boast one of the largest shopping malls in Turkey on its doorstep, complete with a family entertainment centre, ice-skating rink and megaplex. The hotel’s crown jewel will no doubt be its spa, offering 1,000 sq m of facilities, Hammam and Rhassoul offerings, a pool with aqua tonic features, a VIP Spa Suite with six private treatment rooms, and thermal suites overlooking the city. The opening date is envisioned for late 2020.

We also ought to draw your attention to Four Points by Sheraton Kağıthane, which is primarily geared towards business guests and will offer a variety of meeting rooms and conference facilities. This 173-key property will launch by mid-2021, providing visitors with convenient access to the local business community.

Saudi Arabia to build 100% renewable holiday resort

Saudi Arabia to build 100% renewable holiday resort

The Red Sea Project will be the Middle East’s first tourism destination powered solely by renewable energy as Saudi Arabia to build 100% renewable holiday resort. Billions of dollars are planned to invested in mega tourism projects across Saudi Arabia; could this be the only green one?

Hugo Harrison-Carr on  

Developed by The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the Red Sea Project, is a luxury tourism destination located along 28,000 km2 of Saudi Arabia’s west coast. The development, due for completion in 2030, will consist of 50 hotels and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The ACWA Power consortium has been awarded a public-private partnership (PPP) contract to design, build and operate the renewable power, potable water, wastewater treatment, solid waste management and district cooling for the 16 hotels, international airport and infrastructure that make up phase one of the project. 

Energy will be generated via solar panels and wind turbines to meet an initial demand of 210MW with the ability to expand in line with the development. 

In total, development is expected to generate up to 650,000 MWh of 100% renewable energy, which TRSDC believes will save 500,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions yearly. It will also have the world’s largest battery storage facility of 1000MWh, allowing the resort to remain entirely off-grid 24/7.

Three seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plants will also be constructed to provide clean drinking water, plus a solid waste management centre and a sewage treatment plant that will enable new wetland habitats to be created to supplement irrigation water for landscaping.

TRSDC chairman, John Pagano said: 

“This is a pivotal moment for us as we seek to build a new kind of tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, aligned with Vision 2030. We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of what it means to be sustainable and investing heavily in renewables is helping us to set new global standards in regenerative tourism”.

ACWA Power chairman, Mohammad Abunayyan said: “Powering the Red Sea Project and all utility services exclusively with clean, renewable energy sources is a commendable strategy, and enabling it through a public-private partnership contract underlines TRSDC’s groundbreaking approach which sets a new benchmark in sustainability and environmental stewardship.”