Turkey’s Minister for Culture and Tourism, Atilla Koç, declared that the Emirate of Sharjah is leading the way for other areas throughout the region through its investment in education and that growing waves of tourists from Turkey are making Sharjah their holiday destination of choice. Director General of Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), H.E Mohamed A. Al Noman, met with Koc – one of Turkey’s leading politicians – at a lunch reception on a busy first day of the East Mediterranean International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (EMITT 2007) in the Turkish capital of Istanbul.
“I am really very proud of Sharjah’s University City. That it exists is a testament to the foresight of Sharjah’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qasimmi, and the institution is definitely leading the way for different cities around the region,” said Atilla Koc, who inaugurated EMITT 2007 earlier on in the day. “Investment in people through education is the treasure of any country, and this is where Sharjah excels, along with the preservation of its culture and heritage.”
Al Noman, who is heading the Sharjah delegation to EMITT 2007 in addition to other senior representatives from SCTDA, Sharjah International Airport Authority and Air Arabia, spoke at length with Koç and said that he displayed an impressive knowledge of, and a keen interest in, the Emirate of Sharjah. “Atilla Koç was very impressed with what is happening in Sharjah and is aware of the growing development of Sharjah’s tourism industry,” said Al Noman. “We discussed how crucial the establishment of a direct flight route between Istanbul and Sharjah has been and he was pleasantly surprised to discover how low the fares are (starting from 35 euros one-way). We also talked about how to further strengthen tourism ties between Turkey and Sharjah through collaboration, shared knowledge and expertise. These points will now form an important part of SCTDA’s strategic plans in how best to increase the number of tourists heading in either direction. This meeting was very successful and I am certain these plans will bear fruit.”
Atilla Koç was also the star guest amongst thousands of delegates who flocked to the Sharjah pavilion on the first day of EMITT 2007 at a packed Tuyap exhibition centre, where H. E. Mohammed Al Noman presented the Turkish tourism chief with a special gift from the Emirate of Sharjah: a traditional Arabic dagger.
After just one day, huge numbers of visitors have already attended EMITT 2007 and with more than 200,000 people expected over the next three days, the Emirate of Sharjah is set to substantially gain from Turkey’s trade and tourism market.
“Already, the show is proving a huge success for us,” said H.E. Mohammed Al Noman. “We have a number of key meetings planned for the next three days and will be working hard to make as much progress as possible, but talking with Atilla Koç for so long today and seeing the huge amount of interest our Sharjah stand has generated, we can be happy that we have made a good start to EMITT 2007.”
Under a targeted strategy to focus on the international tourism sector and in its first international tourism tour for this year, the Emirate of Sharjah is participating for the fourth consecutive time in this year’s expo, which features 2000 exhibitors from 55 countries and the participation of tourism ministries from more than 50 countries.
Since a direct flight route between Istanbul and Sharjah was established by Air Arabia in May 2006, and through Sharjah’s growing involvement with EMITT, large numbers of Turkish tourists are increasingly visiting the emirate to explore its rich blend of history, culture and heritage.
Speaking of the participation in EMITT 2007, H.E. Mohamed A. Al Noman said: “No doubt that the participation of the Emirate of Sharjah in the activities of this important international tourism exhibition reflects the success of our past involvement and the continuing success that the emirate has achieved through different international gatherings. All of this is part of the aim of SCTDA to achieve a strong presence for the Emirate of Sharjah on the world map.”
He added. “At a time statistics shows that most Turkish tourists prefer heritage tourism and shopping, SCTDA saw it as an essential task to take part in this exhibition where we can promote our emirate as a unique destination for the family to learn about heritage, history and culture. It is these things that will enhance the position of the Emirate of Sharjah on the world map and support our aims to attract more Turkish tourists to the Emirates.”
SCTDA participation this year is more focused on presentation, showcasing extraordinary and eye-catching designs that will display graphics of the city on a space of 60 square meters, at hall number 2, stand 2121. The Authority is handing out to all its visitors, promotional materials featuring the main attractions of Sharjah, in addition to providing accurate news information about the emirate.
The East Mediterranean International Travel & Tourism Exhibition is widely considered as an important event featuring the most famous activities of the tourism industry in the region and the best place for those working in the tourism sector with different specializations to gather in order to promote tourism amongst the countries participating.
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