In-conversation with H.E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority about the Russian tourism market and the current situation in the Emirate.
What are your expectations for the Russian tourism market with the resuming of the international flights between Russia, CIS and the UAE?
As the UAE has been gradually restoring its network connectivity worldwide, the resumption of international flights between Russia, CIS and the UAE is extremely welcome news and we expect the Russian market to be the first market to start traveling to Sharjah from our source markets. Currently there are flights between the UAE and Russia and we believe that with the reopening of the Sharjah International Airport that we will have an increase in Russian visitor numbers.
During COVID19 lockdown we built optimism by maintaining strong, relations with our representative office in Russia and kept clear communication lines open with our top partners, helping Sharjah remain a preferred destination for Russian and CIS tourists, positioned as one of the top destinations to visit as soon as possible. We look forward to welcoming Russian & CIS visitors to enjoy the emirate’s stunning landscapes, cultural heritage and sunny beaches once more.
What are the precautionary measures applied in the Emirate to ensure the health and safety of the tourists and residents?
The emirate of Sharjah continues to raise public health awareness and adopt preventive and precautionary measures as part of the UAE’s drive to contain the coronavirus. A number of precautionary measures and the gradual reopening of our tourism sites will reassure visitors of their safety during their visit. The ‘Sharjah Safe for Tourism’ stamp, a mark of assurance given to all establishments in Sharjah which fully adhere to the public health protocols as set out by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), launched by SCTDA is a key component along with the ‘Sharjah Hotel Establishments Precautionary Operating Guidelines During Covid-19 Manual which sets out new operating guidelines for hotel establishments in the emirate. Additionally, exhibitions and conferences centers resuming activities with the approval of the Sharjah Executive Council and will do so with strict precautionary measures. Efforts to contain the virus are supported in the emirate with an awareness campaign and regular inspections of hotel establishments carried out by SCTDA in collaboration with the Sharjah Health Authority (SHA) as the Sharjah’s public and private sector partners work in close cooperation to support the UAE in forging ahead socially and economically.
As the UAE continues to display lower case numbers than many areas in the region, it can be seen that we are a safe, preferred destination.
How do you keep on developing the Emirate to impress the foreigners? Any new attractions or landmarks coming up soon that you would like to highlight?
The Sharjah Government, represented by the SCTDA and its partners from the government and the private sector, continuously makes tremendous efforts to develop the tourism sector in the emirate, taking advantage of the plentiful archaeological, heritage, cultural sites and museums, in addition to the natural beauty of the emirate.
Sharjah’s east coast and surrounding towns have derived massive benefits from recent investment and interest in particular. Visitors to Khorfakkan, will be greeted by Rafisa Dam, a stunning lake within the mountains, developed with a rest area and many tourist and entertainment services, thus turning this site into a tourist destination for the people of the region and visitors from all over the emirates.
In conjunction with a road extension, the Khorfakkan beach development project, has seen an extensive redesign of the beach that extends over a length of 3 kilometers, by adding high-quality public facilities, a distinctive range of recreational and tourism activities, and a variety of restaurants and hospitality facilities that have greatly contributed to improving the lifestyle of residents and visitors.
The historical attractions of the area, such as Khorfakkan Museum, once an ancient fortress have been the focus of conservation efforts and are now open as museums and landmarks, providing a very tangible asset to the region. These include the restoration of the city’s defensive towers, the Al-Adwani Tower and Al-Rabi Tower.
The establishment of the Cloud Rest on the Khorfakkan mountains at an altitude of 580 metres above sea level will allow visitors to see the city of Khorfakkan from all directions while the Roman theater project, which can hold about 500 people will be a cultural landmark in the region.
Visitors can expect excellent accommodation options with two five-star hotels at scenic locations in Sharjah’s eastern region including a 66-key property located along the Khorfakkan Beach, which will also include the city’s first waterpark
Moreover, Luluyah Beach Developments in Khorfakkan has recently announced a family friendly destination with cafes, restaurants, retail shops and kids play areas.