Eco­tourism sites on land and wa­ter go on show in new app and e-book

The National - News - - NEWS EMIRATES - ANNA ZACHARIAS

The UAE has car­ried out the first phase of an eco­tourism drive that hopes to at­tract vis­i­tors from around the world to the coun­try’s nat­u­ral won­ders.

Yes­ter­day, the Min­is­ter of Cli­mate Change and En­vi­ron­ment launched a free e-book and app that fea­ture an in­ter­ac­tive map with videos com­piled from 700 hours of footage shot on land, air and un­der wa­ter.

The app and an e-book are part of the Min­istry’s Na­tional Eco­tourism Project de­signed to raise aware­ness of the UAE’s stun­ning land­scapes and wildlife that are uniquely adapted to one of the planet’s most ex­treme cli­mates.

The app pro­vides im­ages and videos from 35 of the UAE’s 43 pro­tected ar­eas, in­clud­ing man­groves, dunes and lush wadis. It fea­tures two re­serves from Abu Dhabi and Aj­man, five from Fu­jairah, 11 from Shar­jah and 15 from Abu Dhabi.

Re­serves range in size from the 80,000 square me­tre Dhadna un­der­wa­ter re­serve in Fu­jairah to the 6,000 square kilo­me­tre Ara­bian Oryx Pro­tected Area east of Liwa, Abu Dhabi, which is home to 835 oryx.

“Through our work at the Min­istry, the coun­try has es­tab­lished a com­pre­hen­sive le­gal frame­work that en­sures con­ser­va­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment,” Dr Thani Al Zey­oudi, the Min­is­ter of Cli­mate Change and En­vi­ron­ment, said on the launch of the app.

“The Na­tional Eco­tourism Project as­pires to pro­mote the UAE’s en­vi­ron­men­tal at­trac­tions to the lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence with the ob­jec­tive of es­tab­lish­ing the UAE as one of the lead­ing eco­tourism des­ti­na­tions in the world within the next few years.”

Mr Al Zey­oudi ex­pects the pro­gramme will en­cour­age the pro­tec­tion of bio­di­ver­sity and high­light the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of sus­tain­able tourism.

Many listed sites are free to the pub­lic. Each list­ing has vis­it­ing hours or de­tails on the au­thor­ity to con­tact to ar­range a visit.

The app also in­cludes a quiz on UAE geo­graphic, flora and fauna.

The e-book can be down­loaded at the min­istry web­site.

The launch was in the town of Al Rams, Ras Al Khaimah yes­ter­day.

Chris Whiteoak / The Na­tional

Dr Thani Al Zey­oudi, Min­is­ter of Cli­mate Change and En­vi­ron­ment, launches the eco­tourism app yes­ter­day

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