This paper provides an analysis on place branding, in the specific context of the United Arab Emirates and Oman. It does so through a qualitative insight into the heuristics and into the effective potential of cultural landscapes, relating to both policy and practice. It also challenges the notion that tangible heritage functions as a predictable accelerator for economic growth and favours more moderated takes on the effectiveness of geographical uniqueness as an instrument. While social development and cultural heritage are intrinsically connected in the many validations for tourism investment, the use of heritage as a destination branding element can also become a debatable option. Selecting a number of archaeological sites and cultural landscapes requires a justification as to what they effectively bring to a constructed and promoted image of a nation. Their mere inclusion as attractive pictures, instead of tangibles for consumable experiences, diminishes the return on the contemporary traveller’s expectations. The paper concludes by arguing that branding a regional product in its real diversity cannot insist excessively on history and heritage, as it needs to forge a cohesive message that embraces technology, hospitality, travel, and the many other elements that appeal to the senses of the consumer.