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Sharjah pavilion lures huge visitors at ITB Berlin
by a staff reporter March 09, 2018
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SHARJAH: Sharjah’s pavilion at the International Tourism-Bourse Berlin 2018 (ITB Berlin 2018) has been attracting thousands of participating Germans, European, and other international visitors during the ongoing trade show. Many tourism officials and representatives from various travel and tourism agencies have been visiting the pavilion since the exhibition’s kickoff on March 7, 2018 to learn more about Sharjah’s leading tourism projects, agendas, initiatives, services, and events.

Apart from featuring Sharjah’s unique culture and rich heritage, tourism projects and programmes, and modern tourism infrastructure on the international stage, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) also aims to exchange experiences with tourism and business experts during the event in support of the emirate’s economic, social, cultural, and environmental development.

SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jasim Al Midfa said that ITB Berlin is an important global platform for local government and private entities to showcase Sharjah as a leading international tourist destination.

He added: “The Authority will continuously enhance its capabilities and facilities to promote Sharjah’s tourism and trade sectors at the local, regional, and global levels. In addition, we are putting a series of programmes to advance the tourism sector, attract visitors from different countries, and enrich the experiences of travelers visiting the emirate in line with our vision to draw 10 million tourists by 2021.”

Al Midfa also stated: “Sharjah is now one of the favourite destinations for millions of global visitors as a result of our efforts to put the emirate on the world tourism map. It has become popular due to its rich history and culture, in addition to its advanced tourism infrastructure and innovative hospitality services. Europe is an important market for Sharjah. In 2017, Sharjah received around 468,043 European tourists, up by almost 36 per cent from 343,987 visitors in 2016. The figures clearly reflect Europe’s interest in learning about the emirate’s cultural identity and authentic heritage.”

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), for her part, said: “Through ITB Berlin, we hope to learn about Europe’s unique advantages as well as tourism products and services as part of our bid to strengthen our relations with German and European institutions.We are highlighting many initiatives designed to promote the emirate’s ecotourism, including the ‘Sir Bu Nu’ayr Environmental Festival,’ afforestation campaigns, new animal welfare centers, and Alqurm Protected Area and other natural reserves.”

Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, noted: “ITB Berlin is an ideal platform for stakeholders to explore opportunities and address latest challenges in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors. By participating, we are able to introduce Sharjah International Airport’s new facilities and services as part of our expansion and development initiative. We are building smart gates, among others, and forging new partnerships with international airlines to boost Sharjah’s enormous potentials and make it an important regional tourist and commercial destination.”

Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah, said: “ITB Berlin 2018 opens up numerous collaborative and partnership opportunities with biggest international exhibition organizers, allowing us to learn from their diverse experiences and expertise. At Expo Centre Sharjah, we aim to enhance the emirate’s cultural, commercial, industrial and economic edge by providing facilities to the companies wishing to join our events to promote their presence in the regional market. We are set to host many leading exhibitions covering various sectors such as the ‘Mid East Watch & Jewellery Show,’ ‘SteelFab - Middle East Trade Show,’ ‘Sharjah International Education Show 2018,’ and the ‘National Career Exhibition’.”

Manal Ataya, Director of Sharjah Museums Authority, added: “This year’s ITB Berlin 2018 forms part of our efforts to promote the emirate as a top cultural and tourist destination. As such, we are highlighting why visitors should go see our various museums to participate in different programs and the events. We are also featuring the ‘Sawa’ school project, a multicultural summer school dedicated to students of Museology in the GCC, in the exhibition. We will announce the reopening of ‘Bait Al Naboodah’ museum and the upcoming exhibition at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization to be held in September 2018 in collaboration with the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin.”

Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, COO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said: “The Authority’s 10th year participation is helping bolster the emirate’s status as a leading tourist destination. This year, SCTDA is showcasing its several key tourism projects, especially the Mleiha Archaeological Centre, Kalba Kingfisher Lodge, and Al Monatazah Amusement Park.”

Noura Binhadyia, Manager of Knowledge Without Borders said, “We will participate in many prestigious international exhibitions and events such as ITB Berlin 2018 to promote our new projects and initiatives in line with Sharjah’s national programme to build a generation of readers and intellectuals.

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