Article in brief: The author calls for making the UAE a summer holiday destination instead of traveling abroad given all the tourist attractions it has.
I must admit that I am always late in arranging my summer holiday plans. However, this year I decided to change my usual habit of being tardy and properly plan my holiday. Before making any arrangements, I first asked my three kids where they wanted to go in the summer. My eldest daughter Fatima, who is 12 years old, said she wants to go to Italy. My seven years old son, Mohammed, said he wanted to go to Austria. And finally, my youngest daughter, Noora who is five years old, wanted to go to the USA and fly there in the aircraft that has big seats. In other words, she wants to fly in business class!
Their answers surprised me as none of them want to spend their summer holiday at home, despite the UAE having a variety of activities and places to go to. I guess the summer heat does affect one’s decision in selecting a holiday destination.
As I recalled my childhood, I don’t remember asking my parents to travel outside the UAE. What I remember is asking them to take us to Khat Natural Spring and Fujairah, and the farthest place we went to was Hili Park in Al Ain. Within my hometown of Ras Alkhaimah, going to an old pool in His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s farm was a fascinating experience. Traditionally, pools were not equipped with filtration systems which led to algae formation on side walls of the pool. However, this didn’t stop us from jumping in the pool as it was the only escape from the summer heat.
Today, the UAE is becoming a tourist destination for people from all over the world. Each Emirate has a different offering that makes tourism in the UAE so unique. For example, Sir Bani Yas Island, a sanctuary off the cost of Abu Dhabi, and Liwa desert have become a destination for ecotourism. Dubai Mall and Ferrari world on Yas Island are great shopping and entertainment destinations. A visit to the UAE is not complete without visiting Sharjah, which distinguishes itself through its educational and cultural festivals, such as the Sharjah Book Fair and Sharjah Heritage Days. Finally, the beautiful beaches and mountains which the Northern Emirates offer can be a great destination for a relaxing vacation.
Given all that, I feel that there is a strong need to establish a unified tourism authority which will promote the UAE in general as a tourist destination instead of each Emirate promoting itself and in directly creating competition between the Emirates. As I mentioned earlier, the UAE has various attractions and promoting them through a unified approach will make the offer very attractive. The variety of activities will attract more visitors and will have a positive impact on the economy.
Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration. His abstract passion for history and literature with a hint of photography adds to his noble enduring quality. Abdulla enjoys visiting museums, art exhibitions and likes to spend his spare time in the outdoors. His column “Emirati Reflections” is a mixture of stories from the past and insights of the present, which blend together and formulate his understanding of the UAE’s culture.