Sharjah now has another feather in its bejewelled cap. The emirate has bagged the coveted Best Middle East Exhibitor Award 2011, beating heavy competition at the prestigious International Tourism Bourse on Saturday (March 12) in Berlin, Germany. The ITB Award is granted on the basis of an evaluation by the Business School at the University of Cologne and has been organised for 11 consecutive years and economic and tourism sector exhibitors worldwide take part in the contest which is widely covered by the international media.

The ITB Awards ceremony was attended by President of the German Tourism Association, Klaus Lapple, Lord Mayor of Berlin, Fritz Schramma, Prof. Dr. Aad Van Mourik, Dean of the Cologne Business School and ITB Coordinator Peter Wolfgang Klose, who witnessed Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), receiving the award. H.E. Mohammed A. Al Noman, SCTDA Director General, H.E. Al Al Midfa’a, Director General of the Sharjah International Airport, and other members of the Sharjah delegation were also present.

Sharjah was judged the Best Middle East Exhibitor in 11 categories of the award concerning design, creativity, promotional material and information provided to ITB visitors. The Sharjah stand complied with all the requirements, attracting thousands of visitors to its exquisite pavilion during the exhibition.

Commenting on Sharjah’s achievement at the ITB, SCTDA Chairman Al Qassimi emphasised that the award, the fifth consecutive honour for Sharjah at ITB, reflects the hard work put in by the SCTDA team to promote Sharjah and its tourism sector by showcasing it at various international events. Not surprisingly, he said, Sharjah’s stand has been awarded for its outstanding participation mainly because of the heritage activities at its pavilion that attracted thousands of visitors and reflected the distinct tourism features of the emirate.

Al Qassimi added: “The prestigious international award that we first received in 2007 is another addition to the huge list of the SCTDA’s awards at ITB including the Best Arab and Best Middle East prizes. We are keen to maintain this pursuit of excellence under the support and guidance of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.”

He emphasised that this success is the result of team work by the emirate’s tourism agencies, government departments and media representatives who have been part of Sharjah’s delegation to the ITB in the German capital.” Al Qassimi concluded.

The ITB is easily the largest and most prestigious exhibition of the travel and tourism industry, bringing together top-notch travel and tourism experts from all over the world. This year’s ITB edition covered an area of over 160,000 square meters, with 12,000 participants from around the world taking part in it.