x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Smaller emirates offer a perfect holiday

The smaller emirates need to assert themselves as tourist attractions.

A foreign tourist planning a trip to the UAE could be forgiven for thinking that the country begins in Dubai and ends in Abu Dhabi. Such are the profiles of the largest city and the capital, and the attractions they offer, that the northern emirates tend to be overlooked. It’s a situation that’s been noticed by the hoteliers of Umm Al Quwain, who are lobbying for the establishment of a tourism organisation in the emirate to help develop facilities for tourists and attract more visitors.

The reality, of course, is that each of the seven emirates already has something unique to offer. For example, Sharjah has fashioned itself as a centre of Islamic culture, while Fujairah stresses outdoor activities centred on its stunning natural attractions.

Perhaps the northern emirates need to collaborate more closely to encourage tourists – including UAE residents on mini-breaks – to look further than the bright lights and brand-name shopping and add one or more of the lesser-known destinations to their itineraries.

Not everybody wants to spend all their time shopping or clubbing. The combination of cultural treasures, more relaxed lifestyles, and unspoilt beaches, wadis and wilderness could be just the ticket for many travellers.