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Date Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 MORE THAN 40 TOURISM INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS ATTEND SHARJAH TOURISM’S EAST COAST FAM TRIP The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority hosted a successful East Coast familiarization trip on Monday (April 21) for more than 40 tourism industry professionals in order to familiarize them with the key tourist attractions and upcoming projects, ecotourism initiatives and life in general in cities of the East Coast that have been attracting large number of tourists. Speaking on the occasion, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said that the Eastern Region and East Coast cities of Sharjah remain the most popular tourist destinations in the region and because of their beauty, stunning physical landscape and natural resources continue to attract tourists in large numbers. The region is naturally a critical part of Sharjah’s tourism strategy and investment plans, Al Midfa emphasised. He said that "the strategic vision for tourism development in the Emirate pays attention to all cities of Sharjah and through the monitoring of a number of projects that suit their environment and climate and attract tourists from all over the world. This is in tune with the vision to promote Sharjah as an integrated city that respects its cultural and natural resources.” Al Midfa pointed out that this type of project works to achieve several objectives including preserving the natural environment, promoting development and offering multiple leisure options to both residents and visitors and enjoy their time in the Emirate exploring its various attractions. The day-long fam tour to the East Coast began with a visit to Kalba Centre for Birds of Prey, which is one of the most important ecotourism sites in the UAE. Sharjah has also unveiled a massive ecotourism project in Kalba at a cost of one billion dirhams. The Kalba Centre boasts 38 species of birds; while 14 of them are from the region, the rest are migratory birds. The visitors were briefed on the care and elaborate efforts made by experts and special veterinary staff to protect and tend to these rare and endangered species of birds. The visitors also explored the natural beauty of the charming city of Kalba, which is known for its geographic diversity of the plains and valleys and moderate climate during day and night, making it an attractive natural environment option. In addition to enjoying nature, the visitors were also treated to authentic and traditional Emirati hospitality at the house of an eminent Emirati family in the city of KhorFakkan. The guests not just experienced warm Emirati hospitality, delicious food and warmth; they were offered a rare peek into local customs and traditions of Sharjah and the UAE. KhorFakkan is not just the oldest port in the region and one of the most important cities of Sharjah and the East Coast; it is rich in history and traditions and is a major tourist attraction.