The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) unveiled the latest developments taking place in the Emirate of Sharjah’s tourism projects and future plans at a press conference it held on day two of Arab Travel Market (ATM) 2022, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 9 to 12.
ATM aims to shed light on the future of the global travel and tourism industry, in addition to exploring ways to address existing challenges and capitalise on available opportunities. Held at the Sharjah Pavilion at ATM 2022, the press conference brought together His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA; Her Excellency Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA); H.E. Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah International Airport Authority, and Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), along with officials from various government entities and representatives of local and international media outlets.
Speaking at the conference, H.E. Al Midfa said: “In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to advance the emirate’s position as a prominent family tourism destination on the global tourism map, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority works closely and continuously with its strategic partners in the government and private sectors to implement projects and initiatives that allow the emirate to offer innovative, one-of-a-kind and diverse tourism experiences to visitors from around the world.”
“Our leadership’s constant support paved the way for Sharjah to make immense progress in recent years in terms of major tourism projects across cities and villages in the emirate, including major infrastructure projects to connect the Heart of Sharjah to the Central and Eastern regions,” H.E. Al Midfa continued. “The emirate’s strategic location is an added value for its tourism sector, playing a key role in the development of the tourism industry and its diversity, and offering an array of experiences to meet all interests and cater to every age group. The emirate boasts world-class tourism capacities, offering an annual agenda full of events, exhibitions, and major festivals – all of which work together to meet the aspirations of visitors from all categories.”
The SCTDA Chairman explained that Sharjah has significantly developed its hotel sector to include more than 100 facilities with over 10,000 rooms and apartments. “These include beach hotels, city-centre hotels, and other facilities with more of an authentic Emirati feel, in addition to hotels in the Central Region in Mleiha and Al Badayer, which offer unique accommodation experiences, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, where guests can immerse themselves in natural landscapes from mountains to sand dunes,” he said.
“Over the course of the past few years, the emirate made tremendous efforts towards developing the eco-tourism sector to offer exceptional experiences to all visitors. The various destinations offer a range of experiences for adventure lovers, as well as those looking to go camping, visit parks, and do water, desert, or mountain activities, in addition to experiences catering to lovers of heritage, arts, history, and archaeology,” H.E. noted. “The Emirate of Sharjah supports development plans that are designed to ensure the sustainability of its key sectors, including tourism – one of the pillars of the national economy.”
The total number of guests in hotel establishments in the Emirate of Sharjah during the first quarter of 2022 exceeded 350,000, marking a growth rate of 26% compared to the same period last year. The UAE ranked as the first source market for hotel establishment guests in Q1 2022, followed by India, Russia, and Oman, respectively, underlining Sharjah’s appeal to both tourists and visitors from around the UAE.
For her part, EPAA Chairperson H.E. Hana Saif Al Suwaidi shed light on the Sharjah Safari project – the largest safari outside the African continent, which includes 12 different environments representing Africa’s terrain and the animals and birds that live there. “Sharjah Safari places the Emirate of Sharjah and the UAE at the forefront of attractive destinations for nature and wildlife tourists, and contributes to promoting various other sectors, from aviation to hospitality,” H.E. said.
“During its participation at ATM, the EPAA will meet with representatives of tourism and hotel companies to organise visits to Sharjah Safari, in addition to discussing ways to cooperate with the authorities concerned with eco-tourism to set up joint events and programmes that serve the emirate’s vision for both tourism and the environment,” H.E. Al Suwaidi asserted.
Meanwhile, H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Airport Authority, said: “Our participation in the Arabian Travel Market 2022 reiterates Sharjah Airport’s commitment to strengthening communication with its international counterparts from the aviation sector. We are also utilising this opportunity to seek potential partnerships that would result in mutual growth, and further enhance the distinguished position that Sharjah Airport currently enjoys as one of the most prominent airports in the region.”
“The exhibition will serve as a platform for us to showcase the services and facilities we provide to our partners in the tourism and travel sectors,” H.E. Al Midfa added. “We also look forward to highlighting the services and smart solution features that we have recently launched, in addition to demonstrating the quality of our safety standards and operational efficiency, which has been enhanced to provide customers and travellers with a more comfortable experience. We take this opportunity to reaffirm our dedication to enhancing Sharjah’s image and maintaining the emirate’s lead as a distinguished financial and cultural hub for tourism investment in the Middle East.”
Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Acting CEO of Shurooq, lauded the unparalleled efforts of SCTDA and its collaboration with other public entities to continue developing Sharjah’s tourism sector and create new opportunities to elevate its position as a leading hub for experiential travel. He also asserted that SCTDA’s objectives are perfectly aligned with Shurooq’s belief that this complementarity of roles established by different entities entrusted with Sharjah’s sustainable development is a key accelerator of development.
Announcing Shurooq’s two new luxury hospitality projects, namely, Najd Al Meqsar Retreat and The Serai Wing, Bait Khalid bin Ibrahim, Al Qaseer added: “These projects offer residents and travellers more choices in the ways they wish to explore Sharjah and complement the other eco- and heritage-inspired hospitality projects developed by Shurooq in the emirate. Through these new undertakings, we reiterate our commitment to enhancing Sharjah’s tourist landscape, encouraging diversified investments through local and global partnerships, and developing projects all across Sharjah as part of an inclusive, community-focused development plan, in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.”
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority is heading the Sharjah Pavilion at Arabian Travel Market 2022, bringing together 24 entities from the emirate: seven government departments and 17 private entities from tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors. The Authority aims to shed light on its achievements in driving growth and development in the tourism sector in the Emirate of Sharjah in the post-pandemic period, raising awareness of the tourism services and products it provides, in collaboration with its strategic partners, to build a sustainable tourism sector.