By Daniel Shane
Visitors from Asia accounted for 13% of all international guests to UAE's 'cultural' emirate last year
Authorities in Sharjah said that they are seeking to attract more visitors from Asia as part of the Gulf emirate’s latest tourism push.
On the eve of this week’s Third UAE-Korea Economic Partnership Forum in Seoul, Sharjah’s top tourism official said that the emirate was also seeking more direct investment from Korea and other Asian countries into its hospitality sector.
Sharjah, commonly known as the most conservative of the UAE, last year attracted more than 227,000 tourists from Asia, or 13 percent of its total number of international guests.
"We have to build on these encouraging trends, and initiatives like the UAE-Korea Economic Partnership Forum offer a great opportunity to do so," said Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.
Al Noman added that Sharjah had been actively promoting itself as an attractive tourism destination for Asian visitors and had exhibited at recent hospitality events in Beijing and Singapore.
Sharjah has invested heavily into its tourism sector of late, with the 15-year Heart of Sharjah scheme aiming to restore and revamp the city's traditional areas to create a tourist and trade destination with contemporary artistic touches.
Scheduled for completion in 2025, the scheme will feature diverse commercial, cultural and residential projects, including a boutique hotel, restaurants, retail shops, art galleries, traditional and contemporary markets, archaeological sites, museums, play areas and commercial offices.
How can they attract tourist when the municipal staff are not co-operating with the general public. This Thursday we went for BBQ at beach behind the Sharjah Expo. There was no Sign Board saying that BBQ is not allowed at that location. The municipal staff came there & instead of warning us he straight away asked for the ID & wasted almost 1 hour & gave us the fine. When we brought this to his notice the unavailability of warning sign board he became furious & said it is not his job to put up the sign board, it is the job of municipality's job. This statement is from an EMPLOYEE of Sharjah Municipality
Sharjah would have a booming tourist trade locally and from Dubai if it had bothered to sort out its road network 10 years ago rather than belatedly doing it now. The National Paints roundabout has caused misery for 100's of thousands of working people on a daily basis whilst making trips to the emirate during the week an unlikely venture for any tourist as they would spend all day in their car/taxi driving 40 km.