The UAE ecotourism drive attempts to underscore the region’s “tourism potential” in its ‘natural wonders’. The “Ministry of Climate Change and Environment”, in short MOCCAE, initiated the “National Ecotourism Project”.
The aim of the initiation is to project the UAE ecotourism as a major hub of ecotourism in the world, which involves the launch of “an app and microsite” by MOCCAE whereby highlighting the potential that lies in ecotourism destinations in the country’s several locations like “Mangrove Park, Abu Dhabi; Al Marmoum Reserve, Dubai; Wadi Wurayah National Park, Fujairah; Sir Bo Na’air Protected Area, Sharjah; and Al Zorah Natural Reserve, Ajman”.
The “Minister of Climate Change and Environment”, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, at UAE seeks to capitalise the unique opportunity that the country presents in the “current trend for ecotourism”. UAE’s 14% territory is under forty three protected regions, which means the figure is “well above the ratio for the total surface of the Earth, of which protected areas make up five per cent of the total territory”. In his words:
“The National Ecotourism Project is a result of the country’s commitment to preserving the environment”.
“Over the past few years, the pioneering vision and directives of the UAE leadership have enabled the country to consolidate its leading global status across diverse sectors, with travel and tourism at the forefront.”
The project is a means to shed light on UAE ecotourism attractions, while the task will involve “three phases”, with the focus on “environmental, economic and social factors”. The pilot stage of the project will furnish information and compose “promotional footage” with the theme exploring the “The UAE’s Natural Wonders”. The microsite and app of MOCCAE is scheduled to launch by August-end, which also would coincide with the opening peak tourists’ season of UAE. While Dr Al Zeyoudi added:
“The Ministry is about to launch a dedicated website and app for tablets and smartphones to raise awareness of the protected areas among residents and visitors, and encourage travel agencies to include these sites in their promotional packages for the UAE”.
“The portal and app will serve as an information and visual resource that UAE embassies across the globe and national airlines can use to introduce these attractions to the world.”
“For the project to become fully-fledged, the UAE seeks to leverage the fast-paced development witnessed in all sectors, particularly in the sustainable tourism domain that includes eco-friendly flights, hotels, beaches and campsites”.
“In the next phase, we plan to update the website and app with geographic locations and detailed information on these facilities and services to assist travel agencies in organising eco-friendly tours.”
Talking about the pros of the project, Dr Al Zeyoudi mentioned:
“Advantages of the project include protecting the environment through a proper legal framework, conserving natural resource and safeguarding biodiversity habitats, such as protected areas, that constitute the main pillar of this type of tourism”.
Moreover, Dr Al Zeyoudi’s attention is also maintained on the “legacy of the campaign”, as he added:
“We have to pass on the raw materials to the Ministry of Education to ensure they are able to make the future generations aware of what needs to be done”.
“Raising that awareness is going to be a long-term challenge, it will not happen overnight. We are going to constantly updating our databases to ensure that we keep attracting more guests, the Ministry of Education’s involvement is crucial in this regard.”