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Al Noman: Partnership with SRTA will enable taxi drivers to offer a welcoming experience to tourists

Date Published: Sunday, May 17, 2015 Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced the launch of a comprehensive training programme, ‘Marhabtain’ (Most Welcome), activating one of the key pillars of the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 to enhance efficiencies through collaborative action and promote Sharjah as a destination with world class tourism facilities and capabilities. In the first phase of the initiative, SCTDA has partnered with Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority (SRTA) to start a training programme for taxi drivers in Sharjah to improve their service delivery and equip them with capabilities to provide a better experience for visitors to the emirate. Announcing the initiative at a press conference at Al Majaz Amphitheatre in Sharjah, H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of SCTDA said ‘Marhabtain’ will develop human capabilities in various sectors through workshops and forums for top level management, and training workshops for hotel managers, travel agents and employees in various other sectors connected to the tourism industry. The training programmes will especially focus on enhancing the capabilities of frontline employees who deal directly with tourists, H.E. Al Noman said. ‘Marhabtain’ will also include another initiative to encourage training of UAE nationals and enhance the Emiratisation process in the tourism sector, H.E. Al Noman added. The press conference was attended by H.E. Yousuf Saleh Al Suwaiji, Chairman of STRA, in the presence of a number of dignitaries and representatives of key players in tourism, travel and hospitality sectors as well as the media. “As the key entity in the development of Sharjah’s leisure and business tourism industry, SCTDA is committed to present excellence in every area of tourism. Under the pillar ‘World Class Tourism Facilities and Capabilities’ of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, we are happy to partner with Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority to launch the first phase of ‘Marhabtain’, enabling taxi drivers to offer a welcoming experience to tourists. It will not only enhance the overall image of the taxi service in Sharjah but also contribute to making Sharjah the ideal family destination,” said H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman said. H.E.Yousuf Saleh Al Suwaiji said: “Through SRTA’s partnership and cooperation with SCTDA, we are looking to achieve the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021. Therefore, we are keen to harness all our capabilities to achieve the success of this initiative. As the biggest service sector that deals directly with tourists, transport sector plays a major role in the development of the tourism industry.” Recognising that taxi drivers form one of the frontline groups that deals directly with tourists, the SCTDA programme aims to transform driver behaviour and attitudes, enabling them to better understand the importance of customers in business, especially, in the tourism industry. The training programme is the first phase of ‘Marhabtain’ and will help taxi drivers project a positive image during their interaction with customers, and in the process become representatives of excellence in customer service. The programme will also provide them the training to handle passengers with special needs. As part of the programme, taxi drivers will be educated on essential tourism related information, including key facts about Sharjah, important tourist locations, and major activities and events. They will also be equipped to showcase Sharjah as a preferred destination for shopping, dining, sports and hotel stays, attractive incentives will be provided to taxi drivers and taxi operators who generate support and positive results from the training programme. The training programme extends over a period of one to two years during which up to 5,000 taxi drivers will be trained with an average of 20 to 25 trainees attending each session. The session will include initial assessment of customer service, an evaluation of efficiency standards system and training workshops for drivers. Successful participants will be awarded with certificates. Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority recently launched Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which aims to attract 10 million tourists by 2012 by focusing on four main pillars - Ideal Family Tourism Destination, Innovative Tourism Approach, World Class Tourism Facilities and Capabilities, and International Cultural Hub - to strengthen the status of the emirate as a leading destination for family tourism.