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SCTDA Press Conference at ITB Berlin Briefs European, International Media About Sharjah’s Tourism Product, Arab Tourism Capital 2015

Date Published: Friday, March 6, 2015 Sharjah continued to steal the limelight at the ITB Berlin on the day two with a number of meetings and special activities being held at the Sharjah stand on the sidelines of the premier travel and tourism exhibition, being held from March 4 to 8 in the German capital. A full turn out of European and international media representatives attended a press conference, hosted by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority to shine the light on Sharjah’s tourism product in general and the emirate’s celebrations as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2015 in particular. Addressing the press conference, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said that Sharjah has emerged as the leading cultural and family tourism destination in the Middle East and its distinct achievements in the tourism sector have brought the emirate accolades and awards such as the Arab Tourism Capital Award for 2015, a recognition from the Arab Tourism Organisation strengthening the emirate’s position on the regional and international tourism map. “This is an honour that underlines Sharjah’s success in attracting nearly 2 million visitors in 2014,” Al Midfa added. He said that the Authority is delighted to be at the ITB Berlin for the 18th consecutive year and that its continued participation in the exhibition has made Sharjah an integral part of the premier travel trade summit. Speaking about the emirate’s tourism product, Al Midfa said that Sharjah is distinguished for its rich history and culture and is a unique blend of a glorious past and a bright present, presenting itself as an attractive and safe destination for leisure and business alike. The SCTDA Director General pointed out that in order to celebrate the honour of the Arab Tourism Capital for 2015, the emirate has lined up year-round activities and festivals to showcase the best of its Arab culture and heritage that will certainly appeal to the interest of visitors from Germany and the wider European market. Lauding Sharjah’s association with the ITB Berlin all these years, Al Midfa said that as a major driving force in the global travel industry, ITB Berlin has contributed to the remarkable growth story of Sharjah. “Our long association and partnership with this exhibition has brought Sharjah closer to the European tourism market, particularly to visitors from Germany. During the last year, nearly 25,000 guests from Germany visited Sharjah, reflecting the Emirate’s growing popularity in Germany as a cultural tourism destination,” said Al Midfa. The Director General expressed confidence that this year’s participation in ITB Berlin will enable Sharjah to generate greater interest in the diversity of its tourism product and its rich heritage, culture, museums and cultural centres, and diverse leisure options. This is also another opportunity for us to highlight the celebrations, special events and activities that the Emirate has lined up for visitors from this region, he added. This year, the Sharjah pavilion features live performances and activities celebrating the best of UAE's culture, traditions, cuisine and arts, offering a glimpse of what tourists can experience during their visit to Sharjah. The stand also hosts a traditional Ayala band performing the ‘stick dance’. Ayala bands usually perform at top events, national ceremonies and weddings in the UAE but visitors to the Sharjah pavilion can get an exclusive opportunity to enjoy this spectacle. “Our visitors can also try out Arabic Henna designs – which are an important part of the Emirati culture – enjoy traditional Arabic cuisine or take souvenirs of their names in beautiful Arabic calligraphy. A new addition to the stand this year is an edutainment area that explains the process of perfume making in Sharjah. Visitors will get the opportunity to create their own perfumes and take away a sample from the stand,” said Al Midfa. As part of its participation in ITB Berlin, Sharjah has been regularly hosting special press conferences and presentations to brief European and international media about the latest developments and upcoming projects in Sharjah’s tourism sector.