View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fujairah: Moving Towards Natural Tourism

The action this week to establish the UAE’s first mountain habitat in Fujairah is a landmark decision.

This is an environmental step to protect some portion of the mountains, with its waterfalls, springs and shrubs. This is monumental in the context of extensive quarrying to extract rocks, largely for the reclamation of land and building projects in Dubai.

This is a move with ecological significance as the protection of the 129 square kilometer site at Wadi Warayah will help preserve rare plants, insects, fish, birds, reptiles and other animals such as the endangered Arabian tahr.

When much of the UAE tourist industry revolves around artificial attractions like shopping malls, museums, fun parks and high towers, it is heartening to mark the development of a national park that is natural, authentically Emirati and promising quality eco-tourism.

Realizing that the UAE has few ancient buildings and areas that encapsulate Emirati and Arabic culture, the sensitive showcasing of Wadi Wurayah will highlight the burial grounds and archaeological sites with their artifacts to tell the unique stories and traditions of the indigenous people.

Geoff Pound

Image: The rare Arabian tahr; Glimpses of life Wadi Wurayah can be found in this Gulf News link.