His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, opened on Thursday evening the fifth edition of the Sharjah Light Festival at Al Qasba External Façade. The festival this year coincides with the official announcement of Sharjah winning the title Arab Tourism Capital for 2015.
The event was also attended by H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), a number of top dignitaries, including members of the Sharjah Executive Council, and H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA. Managers of local institutions as well as a large number of media representatives from local, Arab and international media were also present on the occasion.
In his address at the opening ceremony, H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Noman welcomed His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi to the special occasion to officially announce the launch of events to celebrate Sharjah as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015.
H.E. Al Noman said: “As we celebrate the achievement of our Emirate and its rich heritage, I am proud of our success over the years. I take this opportunity to express our commitment to the values based on Islamic principles and our culture. These are the values that our forefathers held on to, and have been embraced by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, as the foundation for the progress and prosperity of our Emirate.”
H.E. Al Noman pointed out: that “The Sharjah Light Festival has been organized by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development for the fifth year in a row.” “This is the time when the emirate and its majestic buildings take on an artistic splendor,” H.E. Al Noman added.
Stressing Sharjah’s commitment to move ahead in its ambitious march, H.E. Al Noman said: “Our approach to the future will continue to be the same – to make Sharjah one of the top tourist destinations in the world, in line with the vision of His Highness Ruler of Sharjah.”
H.E. Al Noman thanked the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities and the Organization of Arab tourism, and all those who contributed to Sharjah’s success in winning the Arab Tourism Capital title. He also commended the festival sponsors and partners and thanked the media for presenting a bright image of Sharjah locally and globally.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi presented a souvenir to Dr. Bandar bin Fahd Al Fahid, and another souvenir to the representatives of the city of Arbil, the capital of Arab Tourism for 2014. His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah received two souvenirs from Dr. Bandar bin Fahd Al Fahid, and H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman.
A journey in time
The opening show of the Sharjah Light Festival 2015, under the title ‘A Time Travel at the Speed of Light’ provided a panoramic view of the story of Sharjah’s development over the years. The stunning show that lasted 20 minutes on the Al Qasba External Façade combined bright colours and impressive audio effects and music to present the spectacular growth of the tourism and cultural sector of Sharjah. The show concluded with the celebration of the title Sharjah Arab Tourism Capital 2015.
The Sharjah Light Festival portrays the cultural symbols that distinguish Sharjah and highlights the aesthetics of the architectural character of its heritage buildings using animation techniques and three-dimensional graphics accompanied by calligraphy inscriptions. The event also includes theater performances and circus shows.
Capital of Arab Tourism
Sharjah Arab Tourism Capital award recognizes Sharjah for embracing its rich traditions and strong cultural heritage to create a modern tourism industry. The award honors the emirate for the diversity if offers in terms of leisure and retail sector as well as for its expertise to host world class festivals throughout the year.
The Arab Tourism Capital is awarded to destinations that meet the specific criteria set by the Arab Council of Tourism Ministers focused on increased tourism exchange between Arab countries as well as promotion of Arab tourism in international markets.
SCTDA will be working with the industry, including Air Arabia, Qatar Airways, the hospitality sector, event organizers and other government departments to ensure that this Award will be an inspiration for further development and consolidation of continued inter-Arab tourism into Sharjah.
The agenda of activities launched by the SCTDA to celebrate the award includes a tourism media workshop and an Arab tourism industry workshop which will discuss the opportunities to achieve excellence in tourism by applying strategic tourism plans. A series of other workshops will focus on e-tourism, tourism crisis management, tourism investment, quality of tourism services, tourism security and green tourism.