Al Midfa: Cruise tourism is an area where Sharjah has focused and invested with obvious benefits through further integration of this sector in the region
Date Published: Monday, March 13, 2017 The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) organised a workshop for government stakeholders in the Oceanic Hotel in Khorfakkan. The workshop is an important part of the Authorities strategy in achieving its objective of seamless integration across the tourism industry portfolio. The two-day workshop was conducted by an industry expert and sought to strengthen communication between the various stakeholders in the cruise industry in order to develop and enrich stakeholders’ understanding of cruise tourism. His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “This workshop has acted as a stimulus encouraging decision makers in the government to become more involved in the issues and current affairs of the sector, all the while ensuring that cooperation between all relevant parties is seamless and continuous.” “Cruise tourism is an integral part of Sharjah’s tourism development strategy, Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which aims to attract more than 10 million tourists to the emirate by year 2021,” H.E. continued. “For the cruise sector to attract more tourists, the infrastructure needs to be there. This is an area where the emirate has put in a lot of effort and investment and we are now beginning to reap the benefits.” Day one of the workshop provided a holistic overview of the current state of affairs in the cruise tourism industry, where attendees examined the latest statistics, facts, and figures recorded in the sector, all the while exploring the most prominent and most promising international trends affecting it. The second day, meanwhile, focused on immigration, focusing in on Khorfakkan’s immigration officers, the challenges they face, and what can be done to support them. Several Sharjah government departments took part in the workshop, including: Sharjah Museums Department, Sharjah Heritage Institute, Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, Sharjah Ports Authority- Khorfakkan, Sharjah Department of Seaports and Customs, Khorfakkan Police, Khorfakkan Municipal Council, Khorfakkan Ladies Club, Khorfakkan Heritage Association, Expo Khorfakkan, Khorfakkan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kalba Municipal Council. Sharjah is fast emerging as a popular cruise tourism destination; in the 2015-2016 season, 63,000 passengers visited the emirate on six cruise lines. SCTDA has been helping cruise lines cater to the different interests of visitors and at the same time fully experience the culture of Sharjah. The emirate is also a member of Cruise Arabia, the Arabian Gulf’s cruise tourism alliance, which includes Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.