Sharjah aims for 10m visitors by 2021

The ever-popular Sharjah Light Festival

Recent data by Skyscanner has identified the top global cities with the most value-for-money five-star hotels, and Sharjah has made the list. Both Sharjah and UAE capital Abu Dhabi feature on a global list of 100 cities with the cheapest five-star hotels, with Sharjah in fifth place.

Sharjah is slowly becoming popular with visitors around the world.

Last year, Sharjah International Airport received over 11.3 million passengers and 77,600 flights. Passenger traffic increased by 327,000 passengers as compared to last year.

In February this year, the emirate counted one million visitors over a span of 11 days of the Sharjah Light Festival. This is but a step closer to Sharjah’s bold ambitions of attracting 10 million visitors by 2021.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), said: “The Sharjah Light Festival this year was a major success thanks to the unwavering support of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Holding the festival was vital to the emirate’s tourism industry and our wise leaders have been a great source of inspiration for us, leading us to excellence and pushing our creativity and innovation in Sharjah’s tourism sector.”

Last month, SCTDA showcase Sharjah’s latest tourism projects and infrastructure developments during its 21st participation at the 2018 International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin.

SCTDA has launched a strategic new set of training programmes that have been specifically developed to help improve the skills and enhance the knowledge of local tour guides. The move falls in line with the SCTDA's continuing efforts to play a key role in the promotion and development of Sharjah's rapidly thriving tourism segment, which further consolidates its position as a highly preferred and visited tourist destination-locally, regionally and globally.

According to the SCTDA, the training programs are expected to keep tour guides updated on the latest developments covering Sharjah’s tourism sector and being well-versed on all things about the emirate.

The offered courses include practical lessons and field visits to many cultural, tourist and recreational sites in the emirate. The training programmes demonstrate SCTDA’s commitment to place key importance on the significant role that tourist guides play in the continuing development of the emirate’s tourism industry–acknowledging their presence as key pillars in promoting the growth of tourist activity in the country and increasing the attraction of tourists and visitors to learn more about the UAE heritage and culture.

Meanwhile, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), has been busy making new interesting projects in the city sustaining visitor interest and curiosity.

The recently launched Al Noor Island on Khalid Lagoon, designed by mulTimedia artist André Heller and built on an area of 28,000 square metres, brings nature, art and entertainment into its fold. The project features a butterfly house with a café, a literature pavilion, a seaside stage, sculptures and more.

Another Shurooq project Maryam Island, is a Dh2.4 billion mixed-use development that will be located between Al Khan Lagoon and Al Mamzar in Downtown Sharjah. The waterside development will comprise low-rise buildings that do not exceed eight floors, featuring 1,890 luxury apartments and villas. It will be home to premium five- and four-star hotels featuring more than 600 hotel rooms, with a series of 100 restaurants, cafes and retail outlets spread along the waterfront. Maryam Island will offer residents and visitors high-end service amenities and world-class facilities, including a spa, a fitness club, a swimming pool and a children's play area. Work is set for completion by the end of 2019.

* Sharjah Tourism is available on stand ME4110