As part of Sharjah’s celebrations as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015, a high-profile delegation from Arab Tourism Organisation met with HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority at the Authority’s offices on Wednesday. The delegation was led by Ambassador Walid Al-Rifai, Assistant Secretary General for Development and Investment, Arab Tourism Organisation (ATO) of the Arab League.
Welcoming the delegation, Al Midfa underlined the significance of the latest honour for Sharjah, which is yet another achievement in the list of a host of accolades and awards that the Emirate has received in recent years.
The two sides reviewed the plans for next year’s celebration of Sharjah the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015, which includes a packed calendar of events.
Al Midfa said that this is a matter of great pride for all residents of Sharjah and translates the vision and leadership of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The Arab Tourism Capital Award is a great opportunity to promote Sharjah in all its rich diversity and as a distinct tourism destination recognised regionally and internationally for its cultural heritage and attractions.
Al Midfa went on to explain that the plans and strategies are already in place to celebrate Sharjah’s selection as the Arab Tourism Capital next year. These include new cultural and tourism festivals, international events, forums and workshops showcasing Sharjah and the role the tourism industry plays within its economy.
A series of family entertainment events and activities of great diversity have been planned throughout next year to support the major events programme. As part of the 2015 celebrations, a host of promotion campaigns at local, regional and global levels are also in the pipeline.
On this occasion, Ambassador Walid Al-Rifai conveyed the greetings of Dr. Bandar Fahd Al Fehaid, President of the Arab Tourism Organisation, emphasising the shared goals and strategic objectives of the ATO and SCTDA for the success of the Award and Arab Tourism Capital celebrations. He stressed the need to harness the full potential of the organisation for the success of the grand event.
Al-Rifai expressed his pleasure that Sharjah has become one of the leading tourism destinations in the region enjoying world-class infrastructure, diverse tourist attractions, luxury hotels of international standard, cultural-commercial centres and, above all, excellence of service which make it ideal for hosting major events. He further commended the efforts of the Emirate of Sharjah and the spirit of all government and private sector players in collaborating so successfully to celebrate the Capital of Islamic Culture honour this year, which has attracted thousands of tourists from around the world.
The ATO officials praised the SCTDA for their successful hosting of international festivals and events including the celebrations next year marking the title of the Capital of the Arab Tourism for 2015.
The two sides discussed the proposed plan of celebrations and events to ensure the success of this prestigious event. They also discussed a memorandum of understanding that will be signed between the two organisations. The proposed MoU includes bilateral cooperation in all areas including exchange of statistics and information on tourism potential and ways of tourism investment in Sharjah on the ATO website. The agreement will also allow the Authority to benefit from all the agreements signed by the ATO with its strategic partners.
On this occasion, it was agreed to establish a joint working committee comprising Dr Hossam Darwish, Assistant Secretary-General for Tourism and Electronic Marketing and HE Walid Ali Henawi, Assistant Secretary and General Supervisor of the Office of the President, and Sheikh Majid Abdullah Al Qasimi, Manager, Domestic Promotions Department, SCTDA, and Tariq Saeed Al Naqbi, Manager, Media Department, SCTDA.
Frequent meetings will be held in order to coordinate and develop the plans with respect to the hosting of all events and activities celebrating Sharjah Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015.
Still under discussion is the Sharjah Capital of Arab Tourism logo which will be unveiled soon. The two sides agreed on the early finalising of the logo and announcing its details before the launch of celebrations so that it can be used in promotion campaigns for the coming year.
The opening ceremony, launching 2015 as Sharjah Capital of Arab Tourism will be memorable event highlighting the beauty and splendor of Sharjah’s from its cultural heritage to its tourism base. It is expected to attract a large numbers of international dignitaries, ministers, ambassadors, experts and leaders of tourism and hospitality sectors from around the world.
Earlier this year, the SCTDA and ATO officials met at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai when the ATO delegation headed by Dr. Bandar Fahd Al Fehaid had visited the Sharjah stand to discuss the arrangements and preparations for the Arab Tourism Capital Award for 2015.