Ras Al Khaimah: The emirate pioneering sustainable luxury just 45 minutes from Dubai | If Only

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Ras Al Khaimah: The emirate pioneering sustainable luxury just 45 minutes from Dubai


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Travel and tourism has evolved far beyond merely visiting a place and ‘seeing’ its biggest attractions. In 2023, modern travellers are eager to connect with a place and, even if only temporarily, become part of its community. Gone are the days where travel was a one-way transaction, today it’s about integrating and contributing to the destination you’re visiting as well. At If Only, we are passionate about bridging the gap between luxury travel and sustainable tourism, which is one of the reasons why we love Ras Al Khaimah so much.

Due to its diverse natural beauty and approach to sustainability, Ras Al Khaimah has well earned its moniker of the ‘Nature Emirate’. Ras Al Khaimah’s sustainability strategy stands on the four pillars of ‘Environment’, ‘Culture’, ‘Conservation’ and ‘Liveability’ and is designed to protect both the natural landscapes and biodiversity as well as RAK’s cultural heritage.

Let’s look at why travellers should look just 45 minutes from Dubai to find Ras Al Khaimah, a destination where the duality of opulence and sustainability coexist in harmony.

Natural Beauty and Biodiversity

Ras Al Khaimah is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty, from its pristine sandy beaches to the rugged Hajar Mountains. The emirate has recognised the importance of protecting this natural heritage and has unveiled a “comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy that will see the nature-based Emirate become the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025”. A large part of this is based on tourism experiences which promote the conservation of RAK’s natural beauty and biodiversity, as well as protecting it from damaging levels of over tourism.

So what’s so unique about Ras Al Khaimah’s natural landscapes?

Ras Al Khaimah boasts 65 kilometres of lush mangrove coastline. Mangrove trees are nature’s veritable utility men: their carbon-sequestering abilities make them a top choice for carbon offsetting and they protect shores from flooding and coastal erosion. The humble mangrove also acts as a nursery for thousands of smaller sea life to grow, safe from larger predators. The mangroves create vital ecosystems, and in Ras Al Khaimah you can take a trip to the mangroves to marvel at nature by kayak or paddleboard.

You might also be surprised to learn that pink flamingos can be found in Ras Al Khaimah along with heron, kingfishers and spotted eagles, to name but a few. Experienced guides allow adventurers to get the best out of Ras Al Khaimah’s beautiful coastline and nurture an appreciation of Ras Al Khaimah and its vital ecosystems.

Cultural Preservation

Maintaining and respecting cultural traditions is a crucial element of sustainability. Travel and tourism is one of the best ways to boost the local economy, but this cannot come at the expense of authenticity. Indeed, Ras Al Khaimah recognises that the local identity must be held at the forefront of its plans for growth, and there are plenty of cultural experiences for travellers which sustain local industry and heritage such as the Suwaidi Pearl Farm Tour, Al Jazeera Al Hamra (the only remaining pearling village in the Gulf) and the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah which holds ancient archaeological and ethnological artefacts which tell the stories of the emirate’s civilisations of old.