As part of its strategy to enhance the skills and expertise of tourism industry partners, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority hosted a 2-day orientation tour titled ‘Sharjah My Destination’, on June 24 and 25. The tour featured visits to tourist attractions, museums and cultural centres across Sharjah.
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, emphasised the Authority’s keenness to strengthen the professional competencies and skills of the tourism industry partners and employees in the emirate with the help of such orientation programmes, training workshops and field visits, and followed the very successful tenth Tourist Guide Licensing and Training Programme.
“These courses are becoming more important in view of the growing number of tourists the emirate has been receiving and the critical role those employed in the sector play in promoting the tourism product by way of their direct interaction with visitors,” said Al Midfa. “They help in forming the tourists’ understanding and knowledge of the destination, its landmarks, culture, range of leisure and shopping options, and indeed the whole experience. All this helps in upgrading the sector and providing better services to visitors to the emirate,” he added.
The Director General, said, “Sharjah has earned itself a special place in the regional and global tourism market attracting large numbers of tourists, families. The emirate provides global services in various sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.”
The organisation of the latest orientation tour for industry partners comes ahead of the summer holidays and the holy month of Ramadan, a time when the emirate sees a huge influx of tourists from neighbouring Gulf and Arab countries and enjoys an increase in hotel occupancy. Sharjah welcomes these special guests and them events and festivities like Sharjah Summer Promotions, Ramadaniat Al Qasba, and the Ramadan-Eid Fair etc.
This year’s orientation tour, Sharjah My Destination, began with a visit to the poplar Museum of Islamic Civilization which houses a treasure trove of more than 5,000 pieces of Islamic history from around the world. It was followed by an extended tour of the Heart of Sharjah area, Heritage Museum and the Sharjah Art Foundation, all celebrating the rich art and cultural heritage of the emirate and defining the unique cultural of Sharjah.
The first day also included a visit to the landmark Central Souk with more than 600 stores offering incredible diversity of shopping experience. The souk is considered a must-visit tourist attraction in the emirate and the UAE. Al-Nour Mosque is a good example of Islamic architecture and a popular photo opportunity for tourists. It sits along Al Majaz Waterfront, the emirate’s latest popular attraction for families and tourists, were next on the itinerary. Al Majaz Waterfront includes the Sharjah Fountain, which is one of the largest in the Gulf offering breath-taking visual treat that combines laser art, music and video to create a truly mesmerising experience.
The guests enjoyed a tour of Sharjah’s prominent museums including Al Mahatta Aircraft Museum that chronicles the history of aviation in the emirate including its first airport in 1932, besides Sharjah Aquarium and Sharjah Maritime Museum. The Sharjah Maritime Museum is a celebration of the seafaring traditions of the Emiratis including fishing, building of traditional dhow boats and pearl-diving etc. The high point of the day one tour was the visit to Al Qasba, which is the cultural, recreational and commercial hub of the emirate and includes the Etisalat Eye of the Emirates, one of the biggest observation wheels in the region.
The day two of the programme included a bus tour of Sharjah covering popular landmarks, government buildings, scientific and cultural centres including the University City of Sharjah and Dr Sultan Al Qassimi Centre of Gulf Studies, a treasure trove of history and heritage of life in the Arabian Gulf. The Centre is home to rare maps, manuscripts and books that come directly from His Highness the Sharjah Ruler’s private collection.
Other locations covered on the itinerary included Cultural Palace Roundabout, Sharjah Discovery Centre, Sharjah Equestrian Club, Sharjah Desert Park including the Sharjah Wildlife Centre and Natural History and Botanical Museum, Sharjah Classic Car Museum, Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, Sharjah Archaeological Museum and Sharjah Science Museum. The SCTDA organized similar orientation programme in May and September last year for 70 tourism sector employees under the theme of ‘Explore Your Destination.’ Members of the emirate’s hotel industry staff who were all briefed about Sharjah’s tourism and economic landscape and diversity under the theme, ‘Treasures of Sharjah–Oil and Natural Gas in Sharjah’.