Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced its participation in the World Travel Market (WTM) Expo 2021, which is being held at Excel London in the British capital from November 1-3, 2021. WTM 2021 aims to explore the profound changes that global tourism has witnessed over the past two years. The WTM agenda includes enhancing international communication in order to establish ways to rebuild, innovate, and take advantage of the current opportunities to reshape the global travel and tourism system as the pandemic progressively recedes.
SCTDA is heading the Sharjah delegation, which includes representatives from Sharjah International Airport, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (SHUROOQ), Expo Centre Sharjah, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Sharjah Sports Council, Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA), Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa, Sharjah Collection, TravTalk, Golden Sands Hotel Sharjah and Adventure Activities Platform Mughamer.com.
H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, stressed the importance of this year’s edition of the WTM, the first to take place as the travel and hospitality sector begins the return to a pre-pandemic footing, commenting that the Sharjah delegation intends to leverage the opportunity to highlight the travel and tourism objectives of the Emirate of Sharjah.
“Sharjah’s participation at this year’s World Travel Market comes within the framework of achieving the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, which is to consolidate the position of the Emirate of Sharjah globally, through launching qualitative development and infrastructure projects and intensifying efforts to restore momentum to the tourism sector, considering that it is one of the most important pillars of the national economy. Our participation this year will shed light on the new tourism products and services in the emirate and review the various experiences and packages that enrich the tourist experience”.
His Excellency explained that the number of hotels in Sharjah up until the first quarter of this year reached 103, with more than 10,000 hotel rooms available. Al Midfa said that this number is expected to rise during the coming period following the announcement of recent developments in the tourism sector.
“We will have the opportunity at WTM 2021 to highlight the great diversity of tourism experiences that we provide, including eco-tourism and adventure tourism, as well as recreational and family events and activities, accommodation options, and others. New and future projects will also be revealed, such as the Al Hira Beach Development Project and Kshisha and Shagrafa parks, as well as nature reserves and a series of museums across the emirate. Central region projects include Al Dhaid Safari and Buhais Geology Park, while on the east coast, there is the Al Suhub Rest House, Khorfakkan Amphitheater, Al Rafisa Dam, Khorfakkan Beach, – Al Luluyah Beach Development Project, Kalba Waterfront, with many other distinctive projects that provide integrated services that guarantee luxury and comfort,” His Excellency added.
Al Midfa highlighted the new operating guidelines set by the SCTDA for hotel facilities through the Safety Charter – a tool to ensure that all stakeholders in the tourism sector comply with public health protocols and procedures and meet the standards approved by Sharjah Health Authority, based on the regulations composed by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority (SAA), drew attention to the important role of the World Travel Market as a forum where experts and specialists could exchange ideas and information through breakout sessions and meetings.
“Sharjah Airport Authority is keen to present our most prominent services and facilities provided to various companies operating in the tourism, travel, shipping and hospitality sectors, and to inform decision-makers of the continuous development and advancement processes that we are undertaking. We are working to attract more business to the emirate from international airlines and to enable operational flights to and from Sharjah, as the recovery period from exceptional circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic gains momentum,” he said.
H.E. Dr Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, President of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, spoke of the opportunity of the World Travel Market to highlight Sharjah’s wealth of cultural attractions.
“This event is an opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of Emirati heritage and Sharjah heritage specifically. We are starting again with strength and confidence, so that the world knows the UAE in terms of tourism and culture. The market will also be an opportunity to introduce the institute’s scientific, practical and field efforts aimed at preserving and protecting the emirate’s heritage,” he said.
H.E Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said that his organisation’s participation at this year’s World Travel Market falls in line with UAE’s strategic initiatives that have strengthened its position as a global tourism destination, thanks to its leading recovery efforts and measures undertaken to provide visitors with both safe and memorable tourism experiences.
“Through SHUROOQ’s participation, we look forward to establishing new partnerships and joint ventures with global industry players through our latest portfolio of tourism and hospitality projects that have enhanced Sharjah’s position as one of the top family, cultural, heritage, adventure, eco-tourism destinations in the region,” he said.
H.E. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of the Expo Centre Sharjah, said that the centre’s participation at the World Travel Market comes within the framework of the centre’s commitment to support the unremitting efforts aimed at revitalising business and exhibition tourism.
“We will be using our participation at WTM 2021 to present the latest developments, facilities and services from Expo Centre Sharjah and the distinguished operational procedures we undertook during the pandemic, which enabled us to organise major regional and international exhibitions with high success and efficiency. We will also be promoting the advantages of hosting exhibitions and events in the Emirate of Sharjah as it occupies a prominent position in the business tourism sector, making it a preferred destination for major international exhibitions and conferences,” he noted.
H.E Eissa Hilal Al Hazami, Chairman of Sharjah Sports Council, expressed his pride and appreciation of the council’s participation at the World Travel Market, saying that it will give it the opportunity to promote tourist attractions and locations across the Emirate of Sharjah through organising international sporting events that attract participants from across the globe and through community events that bring together expats of all nationalities residing in the UAE.
“This approach of utilising sport as a tool to support culture, economy, trade, tourism and other areas of development in the historic, prosperous and promising Emirate of Sharjah is a reflection of the vision of H.H Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who views sports as a humanitarian activity with a cultural message that goes beyond the playing fields and their emotional competitiveness to the wider horizons of globalisation,” he said.