SHARJAH AIMS FOR 10 MILLION GUESTS IN 2021

The Gulf emirate is diversifying its ecotourism, cultural and nature-themed offerings

The Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) is putting the spotlight this year on eco-tourism products, outdoor activities, and branded hotels operating in the emirate. We asked SCTDA Chairman H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, what makes his destination’s tourism offering so much more diverse than many people might imagine.

The landscapes of the emirate lend themselves to a huge range of outdoor activities: dune bashing, sandboarding and trekking through the desert near Mleiha, or kayaking and snorkelling are all possible for outdoor enthusiasts on the east coast.

THE EMIRATE OFFERS A UNIQUE AND UNUSUAL COMBINATION OF AUTHENTIC ARABIC ART, CULTURE AND NATURAL HERITAGE

Sharjah is also known as the gateway to authentic Arab art, culture and ancient heritage, offering impressive historical and cultural landmarks. Other top tourist attractions in the emirate include Al Majaz Waterfront and Al Noor Island, which offer a combination of indoor and outdoor relaxing or activity-driven options for visitors such as a splash park, mini golf and a literature pavilion.

What are some of the different things people can do in the emirate that they may not have considered?

Nature lovers will definitely enjoy watching the beautiful sun rise over the dunes in the Arabian desert, with a once-in-a-lifetime camel ride completing their desert experience. Or they might want to book a morning Desert Safari package to experience the tranquil beauty of the Arabian desert. We also have the village of Mleiha for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs and explorers seeking a relaxing experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This major tourist hub perfectly blends archaeological, eco, and adventure tourism.

Many spas and resorts and other key tourism projects are now in the pipeline in Sharjah In 2018, the five-star luxury Al Bait Hotel opened in the emirate to deliver an authentic Emirati hospitality experience. Representing the best Sharjah has to offer, the hotel exudes Sharjah’s legacy and heritage. Khorfakkan is another tourist attraction, a top spot for divers with Shark Island being the most famous area.

How would you describe Sharjah’s three USPs?

There are many reasons that make Sharjah a wonderful place to visit. First, it is a family-oriented destination, warmly welcoming people of different nationalities and cultures. Second, Sharjah is known as a cultural hub, showcasing not only the beauty of Arab traditions and heritage but it also emphasises the importance of preserving cultural identities while respecting diversity and differences. Lastly, the emirate offers a unique and unusual combination of authentic Arabic art, culture and natural heritage.

Photo: H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa Chairman, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)