The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority hosted a familiarisation trip for a Saudi travel and tourism industry delegation offering them a first-hand experience of Sharjah’s popular tourist attractions and latest developments and trends in the leading tourism and cultural destination of the region. The two-day guided tour of the Emirate on May 13 and 14 included visits to various tourist and heritage sites besides a a number of museums, cultural centres and leisure destinations.
The fam trip for the Saudi delegation came as part of the Authority’s continuing efforts to bolster the Emirate’s presence in the Gulf markets and attract more tourists from across the region by shining light on the special identity and nature of Sharjah’s tourism experience and what it offers to Gulf and Arab tourists in terms of services, comfort and overall experience.
With its rich Arab and Islamic heritage, culture and numerous leisure and recreation options, Sharjah offers an attractive holiday option for visitors from across the region, especially for the Saudis. The Emirate received more than 192,000 Saudi tourists in 2013, an increase of 10 per cent over 2012.
According to SCTDA, such initiatives also help contribute to strengthening of tourism relations and increasing the flow of tourists between the two destinations. Sharjah has always been a favourite destination for Gulf and Saudi tourists.
While the Emirate is incredibly diverse in terms of culture and heritage and visitor experience, with its Arab and Islamic identity and traditions–reflected in its activities and festivals, tourist attractions, monuments, museums, cultural centres and world-class infrastructure and luxury hotels, Sharjah offers GCC and Arab visitors an experience that is in harmony with their lifestyle and traditions.
The first stop on the Saudi fam trip was the Sharjah Aquarium, which extends over an area of 6,500-square meters reflecting the underwater world in all its rich colourful diversity. The delegation also visited the Sharjah Maritime Museum which chronicles the rich seafaring traditions and culture of Sharjah and the region going back centuries.
The visitors inspected the traditional wooden dhow boats, genuine Arabian pearls and traditional ways of fishing, hunting and pearl-diving. The first day concluded with an evening in Sharjah’s majestic desert. During the desert safari, the Saudi guests were treated to traditional Sharjah hospitality and Emirati culture.
On day two, the delegation visited the beautiful Al-Nour Mosque, an architectural masterpiece built with Ottoman-style domes on the banks of Khalid Lagoon. Next stop on the itinerary was the Heart of Sharjah, which included visits to a number of museums, old heritage homes and Sharjah Fort.
The visitors also toured the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization which boasts more than 5,000 rare artefacts, objects and pieces from Islamic history from all over the world. Sharjah Desert Park which includes Sharjah Natural History Museum, Botanical Museum, Arabia’s Wildlife Centre and the Children’s Farm was another highlight of their visit.
The Saudi delegation was hosted by the Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, which is considered one of the most prominent destinations in recreational sports in the Emirate and hosts a number of tournaments and competitions every year.
The Sharjah fam trip couldn’t have been completed without a visit to Al Qasba, the emirate’s celebrated leisure destination that combines popular restaurants, cafes, play area, not to mention the regular culture and entertainment fair. From there a short stroll through the canal enabled a visit to Al Majaz Waterfront, one of the recent additions to the Emirate’s leisure options with its exclusive restaurants and cafes and other attractions.
The SCTDA organised the promotional tour for the Saudi delegation in collaboration with Qatar Airways, which has direct flights to Sharjah International Airport offering 14 flights a week to the emirate, in order to promote tourism relations between various GCC markets.