The Sharjah Light Festival 2012 got off to a spectacular start last evening with His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, formally launching it at Al Qasba in the presence of dignitaries and local and international media.

The inaugural ceremony saw a dazzling display of breathtaking artistic creativity and masterful use of technology to celebrate Sharjah and its journey and landmark achievements over the past 40 years.  Blending the latest in lighting and laser technology with the Arabs’ love of storytelling, the European artists and technical wizards once again created magic on the walls of Al Qasba and at 11 other locations across the emirate.

After watching the inaugural performance at Al Qasba, the Sharjah Ruler went on a cruise along the picturesque Khalid Lagoon to inspect the other locations of the Sharjah Light Festival, including the shows at Al Majaz Waterfront, Central Souk, Palm Oasis front and Courthouse Complex etc.  He was accompanied by Mohamed Ali Al Noman, the Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, and other senior Sharjah government officials and members of the media.

Earlier welcoming the Ruler at the opening ceremony, SCTDA Chairman Mohamed A. Al Noman said that the SLF 2012 celebrated Sharjah’s cultural journey and rich history in a never-before-seen fashion. “This is a testament to our continuous progress and development, moving in steady step and according to the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah,” he said thanking the Sharjah Ruler for his constant support and guidance.

Al Noman said Sharjah has put together a great template of cultural harmony, people’s empowerment and economic prosperity, which is a source of inspiration to others.  He pointed out that the SCTDA has been working tirelessly to build a global standard tourism industry in Sharjah to boost its economy and that the SLF 2012 is yet another initiative to attract international tourists to the emirate.

“We have been hosting and participating in regional and international events and festivals that help us drive the tourism sector growth in the emirate. Sharjah is already a favourite holiday destination that attracts more than 1.5 million tourists from around the world every year,” Al Noman added.

Terming the SLF 2012, being hosted for the second consecutive year, a moment of pride for the emirate, the SCTDA Chairman said, “this is a story of great success on the pages of history by a city that has distinguished itself as the pride and pinnacle of culture and education in the region. This would never have been possible without the vision and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.”

Al Noman also thanked the SLF partners and sponsors for their continuous support to initiatives to promote Sharjah. Meanwhile thousands of people had gathered Thursday evening at Al Qasba and along the Khalid Lagoon to greet the Ruler and watch the brilliant spectacle of the SLF shows.

The 12 locations that are hosting the SLF shows this year include Al Qasba (Internal façade and External façade), Sharjah Hisn (Fort), Palm Oasis Front, Cultural Square, Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Majaz mosque, Courthouse Complex), Central Souk, Sharjah Consultative Council, Kuwait Square, Golden Mile and Sharjah International Airport.  Held from 7pm to 12 at night, all shows are free.  First of its kind in the Middle East, the unique light shows, being produced by internationally renowned European artists and technical professionals, received unprecedented response last year with more than 90,000 visitors from across the country and beyond attending it.