Kalba, the serene tourist paradise on Sharjah’s East Coast, finds itself in the spotlight after His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, recently inaugurated the Kalba ecotourism project.

In order to familiarise the travel and tourism industry with the efforts to promote ecotourism on the East Coast and the ambitious ecotourism project coming up in Kalba, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority organised a field trip this week for the country’s leading destination management companies and industry representatives.

Underscoring the importance of spreading awareness about the Kalba project, its world renowned mangroves and various other attractions, SCTDA Chairman HE Mohamed Ali Al Noman said that the project was part of Sharjah’s strategy and efforts to promote the East Coast and sustainable ecotourism projects in the region.

“Kalba has a great deal to offer to international tourists–from its mangroves and soft water sports like kayaking and canoeing to Emirati heritage. This needs to be adequately promoted by the tourism industry. Sustainable tourism or ecotourism has been around for nearly 20 years. Yet its potential hasn’t been fully exploited by the industry in the UAE. With this familiarisation trip, we aim to raise awareness about Kalba and East Coast and increase visitor numbers to contribute to the local economy in a sustainable manner,” said the SCTDA Chairman.

For his part, HE Marwan Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said:  “The Kalba project is one of the most important development initiatives in Sharjah and the GCC region to date. Kalba will provide visitors with an entirely new type of destination and a diverse range of first-rate facilities and conservation schemes. A wide range of unique experiences will have a significant positive impact on attracting increasing numbers of tourists to the region, revitalising both local and international tourism.”

Lauding the Kalba tour organised by the SCTDA in the spirit of “mutual and reciprocal planning” between various Sharjah government agencies, Al Sarkal said he is pleased to welcome the representatives of the travel and tourism to Kalba urging them to “explore the unique new project.”

The largest of its kind ecotourism project in the UAE and the region is being developed by Shurooq, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, in collaboration with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) and will feature natural reserves and diverse tourist and commercial facilities.

As part of the familiarisation trip, the group visited the site where they were briefed on the features and development plan of the ambitious project.  They also visited the famous mangroves, where they enjoyed a kayaking session hosted by Absolute Adventures, the company that is part of the international organisation, Leave No Trace, promoting environment-friendly ethical code of conduct.

On this occasion, the visitors were briefed by the EPAA on the delicate biodiversity of Kalba’s mangroves and its endangered species.  It was followed by a trip to the Kalba museum, Bait Sheikh Saeed, offering a peek into the old Emirati lifestyle. Most of the UAE’s destination management companies including Arabian Adventures, Al Khalidiah Tourism, Meeting Point Emirates, Travco, Desert Adventures and Dubai Relax Travels were part of the familiarisation trip.