Ras Al Khaimah says agents can book holidays ‘with a clear conscience’

By Neal Baldwin
Home » Ras Al Khaimah says agents can book holidays ‘with a clear conscience’

Ras Al Khaimah has promised that agents can sell the emirate ‘with a clear conscience’ following a pledge to improve living conditions and rights for migrant workers involved in developing its tourism product.

Mindful of the criticism that Middle East neighbour Qatar has received over the harsh treatment of construction workers in the run up to the FIFA World Cup, the UAE’s northernmost emirate says its drive to promote the destination as a sustainable choice must go hand-in-hand with human rights.

The United Arab Emirates, of which there are seven states including Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, introduced new labour laws in February this year.

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism, said: “If we are to embrace sustainability as the way forward then we must live it in everything we do.

“We are aware of the media reports of other nations in the region. From our point of view, we have already embraced social change to improve the ‘liveability’ of the emirate and are already recognised as the best workplace for women in the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council region).

“We are working with top hospitality brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Wynn, and these are companies that want to act in a proper, responsible manner towards their employees. Sustainability starts at the beginning with proper wages and conditions for all.”

Sustainability has become a key theme for Ras Al Khaimah, with WTM the launchpad for its new ‘Balanced Tourism’ policy that promises to protect biodiversity, communities, culture and the environment. Tourism providers are being asked to meet the EarthCheck Destination Standard, an independent measure of sustainability, by the end of 2023.

By June this year, Ras Al Khaimah had matched its pre-pandemic arrival figures and seen a 232% rise in UK visitor numbers compared to the same period in 2021.

The emirate is still trying to get direct flights from the UK, to avoid visitors having to travel via neighbouring Dubai. It had hoped to have charter flights for this winter.

“Currently we have 8,200 hotel rooms and our aim is to double this figure by 2028,” said Mr Phillips. “Sofitel and Anantara Resorts are among the openings for 2023, with Wynn Hotels opening a property in 2026.”

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