ADTA launches desert camp classification
Hotelier Middle East Staff
January 6th, 2011
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has launched a new mandatory classification system for desert camps — one of the emirate’s fastest-growing leisure tourism sub-sectors.
The tailored classification system — conceived after consultation with industry stakeholders and ADTA’s Environmental Health and Safety Management System department — will be split into two categories: day camps and camps offering overnight stays.
ADTA Tourism Standards Director Nasser Al Reyami explained: “These new regulations will ensure that tourists get a positive experience of Abu Dhabi and all the touch points that come with it — this covers transport to the camp, interaction with locals, the quality of the food and the activities on offer. We will also make it mandatory for each camp to have an inspector who is first-aid trained to maintain standards.”
“We’ve prepared a checklist that operators must meet to get their license, and one of the requirements is to offer a minimum of five activities, from an approved list of 11. This includes henna demonstrations, falconry, camel riding and Ayala dancing; we are ensuring desert camps operators create a true cultural experience representative of the emirate’s deep-rooted heritage,” he added.
Initially, a site in the emirate’s Al Khatem district will centralize Abu Dhabi’s existing camp operations, with five additional sites within the emirate — all specifically chosen by ADTA — due to come online for future use by new operators in coming months.
The classification process formally begins this month when ADTA launches the minimum standard criteria. Outlets will then have six months to implement ratings criteria, before specific classifications are awarded.
The system will include environmental standards for the camps, including recycling criteria. There will also be specifications for the quality of tents, making it mandatory for them to be made of authentic material, such as goat hair, and to pass fire safety regulations.