“A relatively new concept in UAE’s tourism industry is Ecotourism. UAE’s biggest challenges to date is transforming this rapidly growing tourism sector into an ecotourism destination.”
By 2021, The United Arab Emirates is expecting to welcome 45 million people, of which 31 million will be international tourists, some of which will be looking to explore some of the most stunning and natural attractions in the region. There are many spectacular landscapes to experience in UAE such as beaches, mountains, deserts, wadis and the sea. UAE also has an ambitious goal of becoming one of the most sustainable countries in the world. By investing in ecotourism is no longer a choice. It has become a necessity to transform this rapidly growing tourism sector in a green economy.
Ecotourism is a form of responsible travel to natural areas with the objective of promoting conservation of natural habitats, whilst protecting and empowering local communities socially and economically. Ecotourism is nothing but making learn the travelers on curtailing our impact on the environment.
Importance Of Ecotourism For UAE’s Tourism Industry
Uncontrolled conventional tourism puts excess pressure on the area as it harm natural areas. This can then lead to impacts such as increased pollution, soil erosion, loss of natural habitats and endangered species. It puts pressure on water resources, and it can force local populations to compete for the use of critical resources.
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Ecotourism on the other hand, has the potential to create beneficial effects on the environment by contributing to environmental protection and conservation. Through educational programs and experiences ecotourism can raise awareness of environmental values. It can also serve as a tool to protect natural areas and increase their economic importance.
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Ultimately, ecotourism provides more than environmental benefits, such as economic and social-cultural benefits. Ecotourism creates job opportunities for locals, creating a more diversified economy. Ecotourism provides greater interaction with the native people and can also help preserve the region’s heritage.
Distinction Between UAE’s tourism sector And International Destinations?
Costa Rica is one of the most renowned destinations for ecotourism. The establishment of the Cabo Blanco National Reserve in 1963 was one of the early milestones in Costa Rica’s ecotourism history. Over the last few decades, Costa Rica embarked on establishing conservation areas throughout the country, some of which contain national parks, wildlife refuges, nature reserves and heritage sites. It is estimated that almost 30 percent of its national territory which is one of the largest in the world is dedicated to conservation,. These well-established systems of national parks and protected areas combined with its incredible biodiversity, helped in giving the country, its main competitive advantage, and are one of the key attractors for tourism. It is estimated that more than half of tourists who travel to Costa Rica, will visit at least one of its national parks or protected areas.
This rapid rise in ecotourism helped diversify and expand the job market in Costa Rica, allowing local communities to generate a sustainable source of income and helping diversify the country’s economy. The other reason for its success is the government awards contracts related to the ecotourism industry to local communities. Thus building local commitment and involvement.
In contrast, ecotourism is a relatively new concept in the UAE. Over the last 40 years the country has focused on transforming itself into a major entertainment, leisure and business destination. The following contributed towards UAE is becoming the region’s leading leisure and business tourism destination:
The creation of airlines, construction of modern transport air and ground infrastructure, combined with major attractions and shopping malls.
In “The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2015” the United Arab Emirates ranks 24th globally and in fact ranking at the number 1 spot in the MENA region.
The T&T Competitiveness Index 2015 says that UAE’S business environment, safety and security as well as air transport infrastructure rank globally in the top three. Costa Rica ranks nowhere against UAE in those areas. Natural resources are the main advantage when it comes to ecotourism as far as Cost Rica is concerned. It ranks 5th globally in the T&T Competitiveness Index 2015. You can say that this is the main differences between the UAE and other leading ecotourism destinations around the world. UAE comprises of many distinctive natural landscapes including rich local heritage, but the country shall come up with more destinations that speaks about a true ecotourism experience.
Oasis Eco Resort is a successful model for UAE’s ecotourism.Why?
To protect the many species and various types of wildlife in Liwa the Oasis Eco Resort will become a conservation hub. Studying these species in their habitat will help the resort manage and protect them. The biologist of wildlife and conservation staff will take care and maintain the asset of this precious location as well as make learn the guests about the various types of plants and animals that thrive in this area.
The plan is that the resort shall be converted into a zero emission zone, which means only vehicles that emit no waste products and that do not pollute the environment are allowed access inside the resort vicinity. This will cover the entire resort area. The Eco Resort Group is looking to support local farmers by purchasing daily deliveries of organic produce; there are approximately 50 villages in Liwa with numerous farms. Guests are also able to forage organic produce from these farms, and with the help of a chef, incorporate the ingredients into a delicious meal.
We took a decision that the precious water source in this area will be used sensibly with an on-site wastewater treatment system and water recycling for irrigation. We are also incorporating 157,000 square feet of solar panels to provide the resorts energy needs.
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The resort will come up with nature-based Eco activities such as horse riding, excursions on camels, dune cycling, dune boarding, dune glides/ Paragliding and many more desert adventures. //
What’s next for future Ecotourism projects in UAE?
A key driver for future ecotourism projects in the region is all about thinking at a more sustainable scale. Enticing crowd through Eco attractions that provide socioeconomic and environmental benefits to rural communities need not to be mega-scale projects. In fact, thinking at a much smaller scale will open up more economic opportunities for private companies to invest in this sector.
The ecotourism projects that are successful requires a bottom-up entrepreneurship and empowerment of local people. Encouraging an entrepreneurial culture from the bottom-up will create more green jobs while diversifying the local economy. It will also encourage community involvement and ownership of the proposals.
Private and public entities from various sectors will play a key role in the success of the UAE’s new ecotourism industry as it will rely upon commitment, coordination and partnerships between these two entities. Refer to Classifieds Apps UAE in case you think online is becoming more popular place for buyers and sellers of real estate in Dubai.