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H.E. Dr. Taleb Rifai delivers lecture at American University of Sharjah

Date Published: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority hosted H.E. Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as part of its efforts to promote Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 which aims to attract 10 million tourists by the year 2021. SCTDA organised a tour for the Secretary-General accompanied by H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of SCTDA, and H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA, to the Heart of ​​Sharjah heritage site and Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, one of the emirate's most prominent museums, which includes more than 5,000 of art, artifacts and rare manuscripts from all over the Islamic world. Dr. Rifai also visited the Sharjah Fort, which recently re-opened after renovation. The fort offers digital interactive tools for its visitors and includes 12 galleries. It has a collection of documents and private collections of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. On this occasion, H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa said: “The launch of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 is a major step towards a promising tourism future for the Emirate. We are glad to invite Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization to examine the capabilities of tourism sector in the emirate. Dr. Rifai has expressed his admiration for Sharjah’s strategic approach, and commended the launch of the emirate’s Tourism Vision which will contribute to strengthening Sharjah’s leading position as one of the most important tourist destinations in the region.” SCTDA organised in collaboration with the American University of Sharjah a campus visit for Dr. Rifai accompanied by H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of SCTDA, and H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa. During the visit, Dr. Rifai met Dr. Bjorn Kjerfve, Chancellor of AUS, and Kevin Mitchell, Interim Provost of AUS, and delivered a lecture on the tourism sector and the importance of experience and education in the tourism industry. Dr. Rifai said that as one of the most active sectors in the economy today, tourism relies heavily on developmental activities. In this respect, he pointed to the remarkable development of the tourism sector in Sharjah, which extends to culture, heritage and education. He also praised the active role of the American University of Sharjah in providing the foundations for the future of the tourism industry in the emirate. Adequate training is important in view of the significant evolution of the tourism industry around the world and the growing numbers of tourists and revenues in this sector, he said. He pointed to the challenges facing the tourism sector around the world, especially in the Middle East, in raising awareness and training workers in the sector to develop mechanisms that ensure the best tourism experience. Dr. Rifai also attended the Sharjah Tourism Excellence Award award, organised by SCTDA to honour outstanding achievements and sector partners for their active role in the tourism industry in the emirate during 2014. Dr. Rifai is one of the leading figures in the global tourism industry, and is the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization since 2009. He has also served in several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan as Minister of Tourism and Antiquities; Minister of Information; and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.