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RAMADAN FESTIVAL EVENTS AND ISLAMIC CULTURE CAPITAL CELEBRATIONS ATTRACT TOURISTS, FAMILIES IN...

Date Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 Al Noman: This Year’s Sharjah Ramadan Festival Has Been Outstanding At All Levels HE Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority said that special Ramadan events and celebrations in Sharjah this year have been outstanding at all levels, truly marking the celebrations for Sharjah Capital of Islamic Culture 2014. The Chairman, accompanied by His Excellency Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Director General, SCTDA, visited the Sharjah Ramadan Festival and Islamic Culture Capital celebrations at the Expo Centre, Sharjah where the Sharjah Islamic Book Fair along with a variety of other pavilions and activities are being hosted to coincide with the holy month and Eid. A total of nine pavilions and majlis have been organised as part of the Sharjah Ramadan and Eid fair celebrations. Hosted by the Executive Committee for the Sharjah Islamic Culture Capital 2014 (SICC 2014) Celebrations, the Sharjah Ramadan Festival and Capital of Islamic Culture celebrations are being attended by 20 countries and 50 international figures from around the world. Visitors to the emirate this time of the year, whether they are here for family holidays or cultural, religious or other reasons, have an opportunity to see Sharjah’s cultural identity as one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the region and the world at its best, he added. Al Noman said that ahead of the summer season the Authority held meetings with representatives of hotel industry in the emirate to ensure attractive special summer promotions and facilities are offered to guests during the holiday season. In response to these meetings, the emirate’s hotels unveiled special offers and discounted rates of up to 50 per cent for the summer season--from June 15 to the first week of September with the exception of Eid Al Fitr holidays--for all residents. This is part of a conscious strategy to encourage domestic tourism through attracting stacationers from all other emirates into Sharjah. Al Noman applauded the Ramadan Festival and Islamic Culture Capital celebrations at Expo Centre saying the occasion offers a rich and rewarding experience to visitors and tourists providing them with a rare peek into Islamic heritage, culture and beliefs. With internationally renowned scholars, intellectuals, scientists and artists taking part in the Expo Center event, it is a great opportunity for dialogue and exchange of ideas and experiences. Al Noman said the SCTDA’s efforts to promote domestic tourism have been delivering positive results with the sector registering a remarkable 11 per cent growth in the hotel occupancy during the first three months of this year. There are expectations that these numbers will further grow as a result of the special events and activities that mark the holy month of Ramadan and Eid holidays are promoted along with the special offers and packages from the travel and tourism companies in the emirate. Al Noman said Sharjah has been promoting excellence in the tourism sector and has been able to earn itself a special place on regional and global tourism map, thanks to its distinct cultural identity, heritage, ancient traditions and culture. Added to this is the impressive urban growth and development of tourist infrastructure witnessed in recent years, a modern road network, world-class education and endless leisure options which include exellent museums, cultural centres, luxury hotels, souks and malls which all play equal parts in driving up the visitor numbers each year. Al Noman said that with the arrival of the holy month, Sharjah always becomes a hub for special religious, cultural and family events in the region, but this year is extra exciting with the addition of the Ramadan fair. With more than 65 lectures, seminars, panel discussions, 30 art workshops highlighting the Arab and Islamic heritage and five theatrical performances, all under the slogan, A Culture of Dialogue, this is an attraction not to be missed. The Sharjah Ramadan Festival and Summer Promotions is back this year with more than 2,000 participating stores and outlets. It’s an event keenly awaited every year by shoppers and families from across the region and beyond. Further excitement can be found at the Ramadaniat Al Qasba festival, which offers a range of exciting Ramadan activities and programs to appeal to all tastes and age groups. Incorporating aspects of spirituality and religion and warmth of faith, Ramadaniat Al Qasba offers family fun, social exchange as well as an opportunity to unwind as the faithful gather for Iftar and suhoor across multiple facilities and eateries on both sides of the channel. Sharjah was named the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014 recognising its achievements in various fields and its celebration of Islamic culture and heritage. This year’s Ramadan activities clearly demonstrate just part of why Sharjah was chosen for the high honour by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation following the recommendations of the Islamic Organisation for Science, Education and Culture. The SICC 2014 festivities began earlier this year with a cultural and artistic extravaganza celebrating Sharjah’s unique tourism product and culture, the presentation of spectacular hi-tech musical extravaganza, The Clusters of Light, explored the journey of Islam, at Al Majaz Amphitheatre creating a strong platform for the beginning of a year of celebrations befitting Sharjah the Capital of Islamic Culture.