Aiming to attract up to 10 million tourists by year 2021
Date Published: Thursday, April 30, 2015 Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) unveiled today Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, aiming to attract more than 10 million tourists by year 2021, when the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Radisson Blu Resort Sharjah, attended by H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of SCTDA, and H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA, in the presence of a number of dignitaries and representatives of key players in tourism, travel and hospitality sectors as well as the media. SCTDA stated on the occasion that as part of its role towards developing the tourism sector in Sharjah and to promote its attractions, it studied the factors that affect tourism at the local, regional and international levels, and analysed the development of tourism in the emirate based on scientific data. This effort has been translated into an ambitious strategy, through a plan of action based on key pillars for a promising future for the tourism sector, the Authority said. Addressing the press conference, H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman said: “There is no doubt that Sharjah has established a leading position for itself on the global tourism map as one of the favourite destinations for millions of visitors from all over the world. We have been able to tap into our historical and cultural tourism potential and leverage our advanced infrastructure and innovative hospitality services to attract tourists from different parts of the world. However, we believe that developing tourism capacity and launching strategic projects are essential to ensure sustained growth and excellence. We are therefore focused on maintaining the uniqueness of our tourism sector and expand the market share of tourism in the economy.” H.E. Al Noman clarified that the main goal of the vision is to build a platform to unite all the efforts, initiatives and tourism programmes under one umbrella, to provide industry players and stakeholders with the ability to reach the stated goal, and enable the tourism industry to play a prominent role as one of the most important economic sectors in Sharjah. Stating that the development of tourism sector is vital for the overall development of Sharjah’s economy, H.E. Al Noman said: “This is a goal that cannot be achieved by any particular sector on its own. To achieve this, we need the active partnership of all public and private sector companies and institutions in the aviation, tourism, and hospitality sectors. Everyone must support this vision in a collaborative framework to achieve the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021.” During the press conference, H.E. Khalid Al Midfa gave a presentation on the plans to achieve Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, during which he explained that SCTDA will adopt, in collaboration with partners in the tourism sector, four strategic pillars working in parallel to achieve the aim of welcoming 10 million tourists by year 2021. As the first pillar, Sharjah will be promoted as an Ideal Family Tourism Destination by offering distinct packages and offers specially designed for families. The second pillar will be Innovative Tourism Approach to improve the tourist experience through the provision of innovative solutions. World Class Tourism Facilities and Capabilities constitute the third pillar to enhance efficiencies in tourism sector through partnership and collaborative action. International Cultural Hub will be the fourth pillar which will help achieve the Vision through effective promotion of cultural and heritage elements among families. Guided by the wisdom and skills of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the Emirate of Sharjah has not only emerged as the Cultural Capital of the UAE but has also been crowned as the Cultural Capital the Arab World. The promotion of Sharjah as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998 has been further endorsed by its recognition as Islamic Cultural Capital in 2014 and Arab Tourism Capital in 2015. “Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority will play a key role in coordinating tourism activities through a collaborative effort involving partners in both public and private sectors. We will expand the existing tourist attractions and build on the success of our festivals and special events. We are also looking to expand tourist numbers through exhibitions and conferences and enhance Sharjah’s reputation as a major international cruise tourism destination in the region,” H.E. Al Noman said. “We will create advanced tourism infrastructure to offer an exceptional tourism experience that takes care of every requirement of visitors, right from the moment of their arrival until their departure. Through innovative marketing strategy, we aim to achieve a bigger market share in the tourism sector,” Al Noman said. The SCTDA Chairman said the announcement of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 marks a new phase in the Authority’s approach, based on innovation and creativity. As part of this Vision, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority will work with partners in public and private sectors to unveil new plans for Sharjah’s tourism sector, he added. SCTDA will utilise the Arabian Travel Market 2015 next week to communicate with major players in the global tourism sector on the objectives and themes of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, H.E. Al Noman concluded.