Distinguished achievers from the UAE’s tourism and hospitality sectors and media were awarded and recognised at a gala ceremony on Tuesday night as part of the sixth edition of the Sharjah Tourism Excellence Awards. The awards are hosted by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.
The glittering ceremony at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre was attended by HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Media Centre, HE Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Islamic Affairs, Sharjah, HE Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority and HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority. A number of senior Sharjah government figures, dignitaries, sheikhs and leaders of the tourism industry and media were present.
This year HE Khalid Abdullah Taryam of Dar Al Khaleej Group was chosen as the Tourism Personality of the Year for 2013 for his active role in supporting Sharjah in its publications and media to positively promote the tourism industry in the Emirate. Besides leading the Board of Directors of Dar Al Khaleej Press, Printing and Publishing, he heads a group that has major interests in tourism, which includes hotels within Sharjah and the UAE. The group currently is part of the the management of multiple tourism projects, as well as the upcoming Sharjah Mall, which will be the largest shopping mall in the Emirate of Sharjah
Addressing the gathering, SCTDA Chairman HE Mohamed Ali Al Noman attributed the impressive growth in the tourism sector over the past few years to the vision of Sharjah’s leadership with emphasis on the spirit of partnership between public and private sectors.
“The Sharjah Tourism Excellence Awards are aimed at honouring and recognizing the hard work that goes into delivering an excellent tourism industry. It is the efforts of these people and organizations which have contributed effectively and strategically to the success of the tourism sector in the Emirate,” he said.
Al Noman said that in the last few years the Authority has introduced new categories as part of the STE Awards, reflecting the remarkable growth, development and diversity witnessed in the tourism sector in Sharjah.
“We meet here today to honour those who have left a clear imprint on the tourism face of Sharjah. We also offer them a note of thanks and gratitude, in recognition of their outstanding achievements and creative ideas. It is their energy that has played a key role in presenting the positive image of Sharjah to the world. They have evolved and implemented their own strategies to strengthen Sharjah’s position on the global tourism map,” he said.
The SCTDA Chairman emphasized that the year 2013 has been a year of a number of high achievements for Sharjah at local and international levels-achievements that the Authority and the Emirate are proud of.
“The Emirate earned itself a number of coveted awards and laurels, clearly demonstrating its great success in the tourism industry. Sharjah visitors exceeded 1.9 million last year, which means that hotels in the Emirate are able to consistently register high occupancy rates of more than 80 per cent throughout the year, matching other major destinations around the world,” he pointed out.
The SCTDA Chairman said that a number of new hotel establishments and quality tourism projects have been launched in the Emirate and the number of room available in the world-class hotel portfolio is expected to cross 12,000 within the next three years.
Al Noman said that Sharjah has carved itself a distinct tourism profile and approach that is defined by its heritage, arts and culture, and a diverse tourism landscape and experience. “All this would not have been possible without the vision and directives of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the continuous support and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah,” he added.
Praising the cooperation between various stakeholders in Sharjah’s growth, he said: “Today, we cannot emphasize enough the collective efforts and cooperation between all tourism sector stake holders and government agencies, for the development and growth of Sharjah’s tourism product, which has been reflected in the highest possible global accolades and titles including the crowning of Sharjah as the Islamic Culture Capital for 2014 and then the elite distinction of the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015.”
Al Noman said that the Authority is gearing up to celebrate the crowning of Sharjah as the Capital of Arab Tourism next year in a big way with colourful celebrations encompassing special events and activities, which will all have a positive effect on attracting even more tourists into the Emirate.
In conclusion, he thanked various Sharjah government entities, hospitality sector, private institutions and media who have all contributed to, and constantly supported the Authority through its relentless efforts to develop and power the tourism sector to highest professional standards. “God willing, we will continue to march on this trend-setting path of excellence together,” he said.
The Sharjah Tourism Excellence Award is an honour granted by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority for institutions and people working in the tourism sector who deliver the highest possible values and standards to highlight the Emirate as a distinct tourist destination.