The UAE may have been an arid desert up until just a few decades ago, but the nation is now one of the most-visited countries in the world, with more than 15 million international tourists having visited Dubai in 2017 alone. But forget about the glitz, sky-scrappers, shopping malls and beach clubs; you can now also consider the UAE as the next destination on your map of eco-friendly tourist destinations, as the Emirates are beginning to put a spotlight on its lesser-known—and ultimately remote—gems.
The Kingfisher Lodge in Khor Kalba, which has just soft launched, includes 25 luxury tents with private pools and a thermal spa, all set against the sprawling natural landscapes and azure waters. Two other eco-boutique hotels, located on Fossil Rock and Al Badayer Oasis Lodge, are said to open by the end of this year.
As the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment announced last week, there are huge plans underway to raise awareness about the country’s conservation reserves and desert areas. With three new luxury eco-hotels opening this year—as part of the Sharjah Collection—this signals a huge shift in the hotel landscape for the region.
The trend in eco-tourism spans much wider than you might think. Although millennials are frequently depicted as being careless, and are constantly criticized for their fear of commitment – the reality is: we’re more concerned about the environment than our parents ever were. According to The State of Fashion 2018 reports by BoF and McKinsey & Company, 66 percent of millennials have confessed that they’re willing to spend more money when it comes to sustainability. And while ecotourism is booming (the industry makes up 20 percent of the overall market), it seems that we’re also committed to travelling more responsibly too. So for the Middle East – Sharjah, the UAE’s emerging culture capital, has the answer.