Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced its partnership with the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
RAKTDA, an organisation created to develop and promote the Emirate’s tourism infrastructure and potential, partnered with AITO for an initiative called Project PROTECT (People, Resources Outreach, Tourism, Environment, Conservation, Tomorrow).
Project PROTECT was created by AITO and the University of Surrey to help encourage and guide members to adopt better practices in sustainable tourism and to focus on environmental protection. All 120 AITO members are committed to making travel more sustainable; their ethos is that “those who live in the places their customers visit should benefit directly from tourism”.
As per the agreement, RAKTDA will become its official sustainable Tourism Sponsor for 2018-2019.
“A core pillar that is crucial for a thriving tourism industry”
Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, commented: “Ras Al Khaimah boasts an abundance of natural assets and a rich cultural heritage which offers a compelling destination for visitors seeking authentic culture and nature-based Arabian experiences.
“Our Destination Strategy for the Emirate incorporates Sustainable Tourism as a core pillar that is crucial for a thriving tourism industry and involves multiple facets from the protection of the environment, promotion of eco-tourism, to the preservation of local heritage and job creation. This partnership with AITO is an effective way of further engaging tour operator partners and travellers in an initiative that will deliver meaningful and measurable impact.”
AITO provides its members with guidelines stating that travel must benefit host communities, respect local cultures, protect the environment and conserve natural resources. The group will be holding its annual overseas conference in Ras Al Khaimah from 22-25 November 2018, where members will be able to see and hear first-hand about the sustainability work being carried out in the Emirate.
“From a sustainability perspective”
AITO’s chairman, Derek Moore, added: “It’s time destinations led the travel industry in assessing and monitoring the impact of travel from a sustainability perspective. Special interest travellers such as AITO member clients help considerably in this area as they disperse beyond the main tourist areas to lesser-known regions in pursuit of their experiences.”