Welcome to the UAE
A complete holiday destination
The United Arab Emirates is a constitutional federation of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Spurred by the discovery of oil in the late 1950s, a visionary programme of development has evolved the UAE into a modern and stable state with exemplary infrastructure, excellent facilities, and a very low crime rate.
The UAE covers an area of 83,000 square kilometres and is situated at the south eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. On the world map, it sits conveniently between the Far East and Europe - a key factor in its emergence as the region's major air travel hub.
Ranked high as one of the world's fastest growing tourist destinations, it has all the right ingredients for a complete and unforgettable holiday - sun, sand, sea, sports, shopping, and safety.
- Modern country created in 1971
- Welcoming and hospitable society
- Unique blend of traditional and contemporary cultures
- Stable and secure
- Year round sunshine
- Varied landscape of beaches, mountains and desert
- Extensive range of hotels and resorts
- Wide choice of sports and leisure facilities
- Numerous attractions and activities
The earliest significant settlements in the UAE date back to the Bronze Age. Over the past hundreds of years, the country has been exposed to numerous cultural influences including Persian, Greek, Portuguese and British. In the 18th century, the British established a protectorate over the region, but the area remained a backwater for fishermen, pearl divers and Bedouin nomads until the 20th century, when oil was discovered.
In 1971, the British withdrew from the region and seven independent sheikhdoms came together to form the UAEs. The economy, once dependent on oil revenues, is now diverse and dynamic. Trade and manufacturing contribute significantly, while the tourism industry is accepted as an emerging global force, setting new standards and forever breaking new ground.
Although four-fifths of the UAE is desert, the landscape offers a lot more than sand dunes. In the North, the 200 million year old Hajar Mountains are a compelling sight, as are the rich fertile plains and quaint oasis towns in the East. The country's extensive coastline is peppered with secluded beaches, shallow inlets, and small islands.
Visitors to the UAE can choose from a wide selection of attractions and activities. These include extended shopping trips to designer stores, shopping malls and traditional souks, and cultural visits to museums, galleries and mosques. For the more adventurous, there are activities based in the desert, on the mountains, and in the water. The UAE also boasts some of the world's finest championship golf courses.
The warmth of the local culture is reflected in the traditional Arabian approach to hospitality, and the generous acceptance of other faiths, practices and customs.
The choice of hotels and resorts across the country is nothing short of exceptional. From city apartments to beach and mountain properties, and from exclusive desert resorts to some of the world's finest hotels, the service and facilities are of exceptionally high standards.
Despite the incredible growth in tourism, the UAE has not weakened the bond with its past, and local traditions and culture are cherished and respected across towering high rises and ancient boatyards alike. This fascinating mix of the old and the new has allowed the country to progress rapidly - without losing touch with its roots.
Ras Al Khaimah Calling
Picture perfect emirate
Ras Al Khaimah means the top of the tent, in Arabic. The northern most emirate of the UAE is also its most picturesque.
Once known as Julfar, the emirate has been the site of human habitation for several millennia, and local archaeological sites date back to the Umm Al Nar civilisation of the 3rd millennium BC.
In the absence of oil, Ras Al Khaimah has focussed on developing its industrial sector. RAK Cement Company was formed in the early 1970s and is now one of the largest cement producers in the region. Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) is the region's first and leading pharmaceuticals company. RAK Ceramics has become the world's largest ceramics producer.
Ras Al Khaimah International Airport operates cargo and passenger services to various destinations. Space Adventures has announced plans to develop a commercial spaceport in the emirate to promote space tourism.
Surrounded by sea, desert, and mountains, this land boasts a plethora of white beaches, blue seas, fertile plains, forests and farms, thermal springs, rugged mountains and red dunes. Combining adventure with relaxation is the central theme of Ras Al Khaimah's tourism industry, and visitors can take in historic landmarks, stunning scenery and desert wildlife, just as they can enjoy a game of golf or try adventures in the desert or on water.
The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah is housed in the former palace of the ruling family and has many exhibits on the natural history, arts and crafts of past centuries. Dhayah Fort is the country's only surviving hilltop fort. Shimal and Sheba's Palace house historic tombs and palace ruins. Jazirat Al Hamra is an old abandoned town showcasing ancient architecture.
Ras Al Khaimah has an adequate number of local and international hotels, with more planned for the future. It is also home to the first desert resort in the UAE to offer an all-pool villa concept. Spanning 100 hectares, the resort has a hydrotherapy spa, a nature reserve, a private beach club and an 18 hole championship golf course.