Sharjah has been selected as the recipient of the Capital of Arab Tourism Award for 2015 during the 15th session of The Arab Council of Tourism ministers in Cairo on October 18, 2012.
The Capital of Arab Tourism is only awarded to a destination after it demonstrates that it meets specific criteria set by the Arab Council of Tourism Ministers. Their key focus is guided by the principle of increasing tourism exchange between Arab Countries. The award recognises destinations that clearly show how inter-arab tourism is integrated into clearly defined strategies and objectives that reflect this principle.
The awarded country will have illustrated how the destination enhances and positively promotes Arab tourism destinations in international markets alongside its inter-arab promotional strategy. Further criteria that each destination has to meet to be awarded the status of “Capital of Arab Tourism” include, accessibility to the destination, the variety of tourism opportunities available, the importance placed on archaeological sites, the destinations infrastructure, its development and investment in tourism services, hotel capacity, regulation and licensing of accommodation which reflect a complete range of offerings to different guests for both apartments and hotels.
The range of events and activities on offer in the destination are considered with importance placed on the events that reflect the heritage and culture of the destination. Further criteria include the climate and the natural attractions of the destination for Arab visitors as well as the ongoing development of new investment projects that are suitable and welcoming for Arab tourists.
SCTDA will be working with the industry, including Air Arabia, Qatar Airways, the accommodation sector, event organisers 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 GCC has always been a major market for Sharjah and this year SCTDA will be embracing the opportunity invoked through the Capital of Arab Tourism Award to widen its tourism footprint to new destinations within the Arab League.
The Capital of Arab Tourism Award for 2015 is a testimony to Sharjah’s unique tourism product that has been growing in reputation at a local, regional and international level over the last decade. This award is even more significant considering the Emirate is just closing the curtain on this year’s award as Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014 presented by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The award recognises Sharjah as a prime example for embracing its rich traditions and using its strong cultural heritage as a platform through which to weave its modern tourism industry. The award is given to the emirate for its diversity in terms of leisure and shopping as well as its skill in hosting world class festivals throughout the year.
The Arab League initiative takes responsibility for the promotion of tourism and regional cooperation in an aim to work towards uniform growth and development across the Arab world. Sharjah now proudly picks up the responsibility from Erbil in 2015 to continue the promotion and strong growth of Arab tourism in 2015.