In the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, (Shurooq), the authority unveiled Al Noor Island: its latest tourism and leisure project which boasts state-of-the-art facilities and is set to serve as a vibrant cultural and recreational destination for the emirate’s residents and visitors.
The announcement of the new project was made during a press conference held at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai World Trade Centre in the presence of media representatives.
Speaking on the occasion, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, said, “The launch of Al Noor Island is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and well synchronised with Sharjah being selected as the Capital of Arab Tourism 2015, the project comes as part of our commitment to develop the emirate, raise its economic and social merits and reinforces its position as a leading cultural, tourism and investment destination in the region that serves the ambition of its residents and visitors and meets their interests.”
Al Noor Island is located in Khalid Lagoon and is the Arab world’s first island to combine nature, art and entertainment. The island extends over an area of 45,470 square meters and reflects the art styles of a world renowned designer who has many outstanding achievements and projects around the globe, such as the Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten) museum, including the green spaces and several imaginative sculptures at the Schonbrunn Palace in the Austrian capital – Vienna.
HE Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) said; “Sharjah presents an excellent model of using cultural heritage to advance the modern tourism development. No doubt, the launch of Al Noor Island will give a further boost to Sharjah as a premier tourism destination, sought after by visitors from the UAE and beyond. The project highlights the emirate’s position as cultural, tourism and investment destination, reflects the architectural style in the emirate and emphasizes its attention to culture and art.”
Al Noman added: “Keeping up with the developments of projects and the launch of development initiatives which serves the tourism sector will contribute to increasing tourists flow to the emirate, thus, achieving the emirate’s vision, aiming to attract 10 million visitors by 2021.”
HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, stressed the authority’s commitment to developing many tourism and leisure destinations that give Sharjah’s residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the emirate’s dynamic cultural, artistic and social landscape, while encouraging the influx of more tourists.
“The emirate has gained a world reputation in cultural and heritage tourism as well as in family tourism, and therefore tourists flock to the emirate to discover its landmarks,” he added.
He continued, “We are looking forward to seeing Al Noor Island as one of the premier tourist and leisure destinations in the emirate and the UAE, and as a unique venue for hosting and organising various events and activities. We are confident that this new project will attract thousands of visitors from all backgrounds and will be one of the emirate’s most popular landmarks.”
Al Noor Island consists of a uniquely-designed, covered and streamlined structure inspired by butterflies’ natural environment, a pedestrian bridge that will serve as an entrance to the island, a Literature Pavilion, a children’s playground and an egg-shaped OVO Art Sculpture. The island is designed to allow visitors to discover natural life across a spacious area covered by lighting and vegetation, and operating with innovative technology. The vibrant coloured lights will also create a spectacular scene at night.
One of the destination’s main attractions, the Butterfly House, is a nature-inspired structure with an ornamentally perforated shadow roof, biomorphic exterior, and green light and plant-covered walls. The Butterfly House hosts as many as 500 exotic butterflies brought from Far East Asian countries, including the Danaus chrysippus, also known as the African monarch, the Doleschallia bisaltide, also known as the Autumn Leaf, and the Pachliopta aristolochiae or rose butterfly, which is extensively found across South East Asia and is known for its bright colours.
The natural butterfly environment such as humidity, temperature and light intensity were all taken into consideration when designing the building. The space also houses a gift shop that sells items related to the ‘I Love Sharjah’ and Yerboa character brands, as well as a modern café where visitors can have drinks and snacks.
On the opposite side of the island, the blossom-shaped Literature Pavilion is an open seating area for writers, intellectuals and book worms, and an ideal haven for those seeking serenity and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The pavilion will be surrounded by gorgeous light reflections of letters from Arabic calligraphy with mesmerising colours, and will be decorated with plush cushions for people to relax and read or to sit and talk with friends.
The island will also host a version of the OVO Art Sculpture , a famous sculpture that has been displayed in major cities around the world, and has dazzled millions of visitors and tourists. With its elliptical shaped design and inspiring combination of colours and lights, the sculpture is set to present unique shows combining light with music through a collection of musical soundtracks inspired by nature and composed exclusively for Al Noor Island to give visitors a sense of tranquility and serenity.
Shurooq was also determined to include a spacious children’s playground on the island partially covered with sand and illuminated grass, and surrounded by trees for children to climb and feel as though they are in a primeval forest.
Additionally, the project will include a pontoon, seaside stage for boats that will transport visitors of Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront and Heart of Sharjah from one destination to another, and eight unique and exclusive art sculptures by some of the world’s most renowned artists, meticulously selected to suit the venue.
The island will further include nature-inspired outdoor seating areas in harmony with the natural and authentic surroundings. The bridge was designed to link the main entrance with the island and enable visitors to walk through the 3500-metre Al Noor Walkway and tour the different attractions and facilities of the island.
Lighting is a main element in the island’s design. The buildings, walkways, trees and bridge will be lit using advanced technology. Lights will vary in intensity and colour throughout the day and will be spectacularly reflected on the buildings.
Construction work on the island is scheduled for completion in the 4th quarter of this year. Unique architectural designs reflect the continued development of the emirate of Sharjah as a prominent hub of art, knowledge and culture, and the island will contribute to growing the concept of Sharjah as a leading travel and tourism destination in the UAE and the region.
Development of Al Noor Island is part of Shurooq’s overall strategy to stimulate the fast growing leisure and tourism sector in the emirate of Sharjah by developing high level tourism and leisure destinations for visitors and continuing the cultural and art initiatives presented by Sharjah and hosted by these destinations.
Shurooq carries out and develops tourism and leisure projects to boost the tourism and commercial activities in the emirate of Sharjah, improve the quality of life for residents, and achieve social, cultural, environmental and economic development, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and under the directives of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq.
Since its inception in 2009, Shurooq has developed a number of major projects, which have become some of the most visited destinations in the region, such as Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Montazah – Amusement and Water Park, The Flag Island, Heart of Sharjah, as well as many more that are currently underway, such as Al Jabal Resort, The Chedi Khorfakkan and Kalba Eco-tourism Project.
Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah’s distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world.
Shurooq’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the emirate, evaluate investment-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.