Al Midfa: Cooperation between all sectors fundamental to attracting 10 million visitors by 2021
Date Published: Sunday, June 7, 2015 The Sharjah Tourism Advisory Committee, chaired by HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), held its third meeting to discuss the latest developments in the tourism sector in the emirate. The meeting focused on Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 aim to attract 10 million tourists by 2021, and identified the main pillars that have been activated to achieve this goal. The meeting also highlighted the success achieved by SCTDA during the recent participations in international tourism fairs and regional and global promotional tours. The high-profile meeting was attended by HE Saif Mohamed Al Midfa, Director General, Expo Centre Sharjah; Ahmed Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Manal Attayah, Director General, Sharjah Museums Department; Naser Nasief, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Committee for Tourism Sector-Hotels; Engineer Lamia Obaid Al Shamsi, Director, IT, Sharjah International Airport Authority; Omar Mattar, Sales Manager, Air Arabia; Maha Jawaad, Administrative Coordinator in the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Abdul Wahid Al Zarouni, Chairman of the Travel, Haj & Omra Business Group in the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Mohamed Meer Abdulrahman, Manager, Department of Seaports and Customs; and Abdul Aziz Al Jarwan, Director, Commission for Roads and Transportation in Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority. The meeting began with the display of a new promotional film for the Emirate of Sharjah that highlights the main cultural and heritage attractions and other tourist destinations in the emirate. The film showcases Sharjah’s tourism services in an innovative way with the accompaniment of music to take the viewers on a journey through the most prominent tourism attractions of the emirate in just six minutes. Reviewing the main features of the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, launched recently by SCTDA, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa called for concerted efforts of all players in the tourism sector, pointing out that cooperation between all parties is critical to achieving the Vision. HE Al Midfa said the Vision 2021 serves as a platform to unite all the efforts and initiatives as well as future programmes of Sharjah’s tourism sector under one umbrella. HE Al Midfa said the Authority is working on activating the key pillars of the Vision in collaboration with partners from the private and government sectors, and has launched initiatives and services to support the Vision. He also highlighted some of the initiatives and programmes launched recently, including the ‘Marhabtain’ initiative, a comprehensive training programme that aims to develop capabilities in the tourism sector and enhance the skill levels of national cadres in this sector. HE Al Midfa said the ‘Marhabtain’ initiative has already seen the launch of two programmes, the first aimed at training taxi drivers in Sharjah, in collaboration with the Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority. The second programme offers training for Emirati tourist guides in Sharjah, focusing on practical skills based on international standards followed by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA). This programme aims to create qualified professional teams out of tourist guides to make them best ambassadors for the emirate. HE Al Midfa also informed the Committee members about the success achieved by the SCTDA during its recent international participations, such as China Outbound Tourism and Travel Market, ITB Berlin, and the Arabian Travel Market as well as the promotional tour in three Gulf cities under the umbrella of the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities. HE Al Midfa said the Authority is targeting new markets and looking to expand its share of the global travel and tourism market. China, India and the GCC are the most important markets for SCTDA in achieving the objectives of Vision 2021, HE Midfa added. He also highlighted the need to promote business tourism and conferences due to the importance of this sector around the world. HE Al Midfa called for joint plans to develop tourism infrastructure, transport, airport, museums, and hotel facilities, as well as new projects based on international best standards to attract 10 million tourists by year 2021. The Sharjah Tourism Advisory Committee’s third meeting concluded with the attendees unanimously expressing their commitment to cooperation and exchange of information and expertise. They also reviewed current tourism projects and explored avenues to strengthen cooperation to promote these projects and connect them to Vision 2021. The Sharjah Tourism Advisory Committee was set up to advise SCTDA on the development and implementation of the strategies to strengthen the commerce and tourism sectors in the emirate. The Committee is mandated to strive for sustainable growth of the Emirate’s tourism sector and the economy, using a multifaceted approach to ongoing development.