Sharjah gateway between East and West due to its strategic location - GulfToday

Sharjah gateway between East and West due to its strategic location


A stunning view of Sharjah Corniche, a key attraction for local and global tourists.

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

Sharjah’s strategic location as a gateway between the East and the West has historically made it a significant trading hub. Today, this geographical advantage is complemented by a modern infrastructure that includes state-of-the-art ports, free zones, and logistics facilities.

This was stated by Haleema Humaid Al Owais, Vice-Chairperson, Sharjah Consultative Council; Board Member, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and CEO of Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Real Estate, during an exclusive interview with Gulf Today, adding that the emirate’s ability to blend its rich cultural heritage with modern business infrastructure has made it an attractive destination for multinational corporations and startups alike.

She noted that the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) and the Hamriyah Free Zone offer business-friendly environments with numerous incentives, drawing businesses from various sectors, including manufacturing, logistics, and services.

SharjahBank Haleema Humaid Al Owais.

Al Owais mentioned that Sharjah, stands as a unique blend of tradition and modernity. Known for its rich cultural legacy and vibrant historical backdrop, Sharjah has effectively leveraged its past to create a robust and flourishing business environment. This intricate interplay between heritage and commerce is pivotal in understanding the emirate’s burgeoning business landscape.

“Sharjah’s dedication to preserving its cultural legacy is evident in its numerous museums, heritage sites, and cultural festivals. The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, the Sharjah Heritage Museum, and the annual Sharjah International Book Fair are just a few examples of the emirate’s commitment to its historical and cultural roots. These institutions and events not only serve as custodians of history but also attract millions of tourists annually, creating a substantial influx of revenue and fostering a dynamic market for local businesses.” She added.

Al Owais echoed that emirate’s heritage-rich persona is also an essential element in shaping its identity as a hub for arts and culture in the region. The Heart of Sharjah, a significant heritage project, which aims to preserve and restore the old town of Sharjah to its 1950s state, offering a glimpse into the emirate’s historical architecture and traditional lifestyle. This initiative has spurred the growth of numerous small businesses, including artisanal crafts, traditional markets, and boutique hotels, all of which contribute to the local economy. The preservation of heritage buildings and the promotion of cultural tourism have created a unique niche market that attracts both tourists and investors alike.

“Furthermore, Sharjah’s commitment to education and intellectual growth is deeply rooted in its cultural ethos. The emirate is home to several prestigious universities, such as the American University of Sharjah and the University of Sharjah, which attract students from around the world. This influx of international students not only enhances the cultural diversity of the emirate but also creates a demand for a wide range of services, including housing, retail, and entertainment. The presence of these educational institutions has led to the development of a thriving knowledge economy, with numerous research centres and innovation hubs sprouting across the emirate.|

“The Government of Sharjah has been a key player in integrating heritage with modern business practices, ensuring the sustainability of the emirate’s business environment.”

She pointed out that the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has been instrumental in promoting the emirate as a prime business destination while ensuring that its cultural heritage is preserved. Shurooq’s initiatives, such as the Al Majaz Waterfront and the Al Qasba Canal, seamlessly blend traditional architectural elements with modern amenities, creating attractive destinations for both tourists and businesses. These projects, backed by the government’s commitment to heritage preservation, have not only enhanced the emirate’s aesthetic appeal but have also provided a significant boost to the local economy by attracting investments and generating employment opportunities, instilling confidence in the sustainability of Sharjah’s business environment.

“Sharjah’s cultural diplomacy has also extended beyond its borders, fostering international business relations. The emirate’s participation in global cultural events and its twinning agreements with cities around the world have helped to promote its heritage and business potential on a global scale. These international collaborations have opened up new avenues for trade, investment, and tourism, further bolstering Sharjah’s economic growth.”


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