Shar­jah high­lights

an­other layer of tourism Shar­jah in its rich tapestry d/s

TravTalk - Middle East - - ATTRACTION -

Shar­jah has an ac­tive tourism in­dus­try and re­ceives ap­prox­i­mately two mil­lion guests di­rectly into its ac­com­mo­da­tion sec­tor each year. Shar­jah of­fers a com­plete range of ac­com­mo­da­tion from apart­ments to ho­tels, across a di­verse port­fo­lio of in­ter­na­tional brands and lo­cal bou­tiques. There are cur­rently 10,000 keys avail­able within the emi­rate with a fur­ther 7000 rooms due to come on line be­fore 2020.

Shar­jah is the only emi­rate to have coast­lines on both the east and west coast and over the last few years the Shar­jah Com­merce and Tourism Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (SCTDA) has looked to­wards the east coast to launch a new layer in its tourism port­fo­lio: ‘out­door tourism’. Through this new propo­si­tion the emi­rate brings to all vis­i­tors and guests what can only be de­scribed as “a re­mark­able ex­pe­ri­ence” as they are en­cour­aged to en­joy the out­doors through the di­verse en­vi­ron­ment that can be dis­cov­ered in Shar­jah.

The east coast has a rich tourism po­ten­tial of­fer­ing a coast filled with ex­otic sea life and corals, man­groves, wadis, and moun­tains. The in­fras­truc­ture is be­com­ing more de­vel­oped, the new road con­struc­tion from Khor­fakan to Shar­jah has al­ready been called the “road of tun­nels” and will re­duce the ad­di­tional 60 km dis­tance to 16 km and the driv­ing time should now be just 45 min­utes.

Kalba has long been re­puted for its peace, tran­quil­ity and areas of nat­u­ral beauty and the newly pro­posed

Shar­jah is the third largest of the seven emi­rates that make up the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE). It has carved it­self a unique niche in terms of its cul­ture and her­itage, set­ting it­self far from the bright lights and sky­scrapers found in its neigh­bour­ing emi­rates.

eco­tourism project will cre­ate a sus­tain­able plat­form for tourism devel­op­ment, keep­ing a care­ful balance on putting con­ser­va­tion ahead of devel­op­ment. This said there will also be a devel­op­ment of re­tail and cof­fee shops on the edge of a man­made la­goon. The most ex­cit­ing of these de­vel­op­ments are the new eco-lodges, which are a ‘sa­fari styled’ lux­ury tent with pri­vate swim­ming pools and five star fa­cil­i­ties adding more bed spa­ces to the tourism growth in the re­gion. The walk­ways into the man­groves will make it pos­si­ble to ob­serve the flora and fauna with min­i­mal in­va­sion and im­pact on the rare species found in this area.

The newly-opened He­faiyah Moun­tain Con­ser­va­tion Cen­tre and pro­tected area is an­other high­light for vis­i­tors to this area. The 12-km two wildlife con­ser­va­tion cen­tre bor­ders the Ha­j­jar moun­tains and of­fers vis­i­tors a chance to see the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered Ara­bian leop­ard (Pan­thera par­dus nimr) and other en­dan­gered species in­clud­ing the Ara­bian wolf and the Ara­bian Tahr, and the striped hyena

The newly-opened He­faiyah Moun­tain Con­ser­va­tion Cen­tre and pro­tected area is an­other high­light for vis­i­tors to this area. The 12km two wildlife con­ser­va­tion cen­tre bor­ders the Ha­j­jar moun­tains and of­fers vis­i­tors a chance to see the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered Ara­bian leop­ard (Pan­thera par­dus nimr) and other en­dan­gered species in­clud­ing the Ara­bian wolf (Ca­nis lu­pus arabs) and the Ara­bian Tahr (Ara­bi­tra­gus jayakari), which are both clas­si­fied by the IUCN as ‘Threat­ened’; and the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), which is clas­si­fied as ‘Near Threat­ened’. Re­cently, the cen­tre has en­joyed par­tic­u­lar suc­cess in breed­ing en­dan­gered Da­mani gazelles from breed­ing stock in­tro­duced in 2012. The moun­tain con­ser­va­tion cen­tre has tourist fa­cil­i­ties and em­ploys full-time trained guides to show vis­i­tors the re­serve and an­swer ques­tions about Ara­bian wildlife.

Also keep­ing the theme, the Kalba Birds of Prey cen­tre can be found in the out­skirts of Kalba town, which ac­com­mo­dates a va­ri­ety of res­i­dent and mi­gra­tory rap­tors. Vis­i­tors to the cen­tre can see birds of prey such as the barn owl, short-toed snake ea­gle, greater spot­ted ea­gle, and lap­pet-faced vul­ture. Live demon­stra­tions and bird of prey dis­plays are held daily for vis­i­tors dur­ing the win­ter months.

Tourism in Shar­jah has cer­tainly seen growth and in­vest­ment in new mar­kets which has meant in­creased room nights through­out the year. The au­thor­ity will con­tinue with its pro­mo­tion of Shar­jah as a re­mark­able ex­pe­ri­ence as it con­tin­ues to develop new pack­ages en­com­pass­ing out­door tourism, cul­ture and her­itage.

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