Gulf coast destination sets sights on families with a broad offering
SHARJAH LIGHT FESTIVAL
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) is currently running its “Sharjah, My Family Destination” campaign, which aimed to introduce new tourism offers and packages for families visiting Sharjah. A key pillar of the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 that aims to attract more than 10 million visitors within the next ve years, the campaign underscores the emirate’s core commitment to families in its tourism strategy.
Indeed, all members of the family are guaranteed to find something to their liking in the emirate, from dazzling shows and carnivals to enchanting parks and wild desert landscapes, more than a dozen museums covering art, calligraphy, Islamic civilisation, natural history, heritage, science and aviation, as well as scenic man-made lagoons and an array of cultural and edutainment locations.
Families also have a financial incentive to visit Sharjah. “For instance, families can get up to 16-20% discount rate on hotel accommodations,” said SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jasim al-Midfa.
SUN AND SAND
Tourists can enjoy Sharjah’s pristine family-friendly beaches on the Gulf coast. When Europe is in the midst of its gloomy winter, Sharjah basks in a warm 27 degrees celsius, offering the perfect atmosphere for exploring the outdoors, where families can enjoy plenty of activities in charming locations such as Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba, and Khalid Lagoon.
The Wasit Nature Reserve is a recently-opened wetland that offers educational and cultural classes and facilities such as observation platforms. Meanwhile, the Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre provides unique opportunities for children and adults to have fun while learning about environmental preservation and nature.
Right in the middle of Sharjah City, the newly opened Al Noor Island combines nature, art and culture in fascinating ways, including the futuristic Butterfly House, which mesmerises both adult and children with its showcase of 500 exotic butter y species brought from East Asian countries. The island also allows children to unleash their energies in a dedicated playground.
Connecting all these attractions together is a 3,500 meter long walkway dotted with light installations, trees, miniature gardens as well as art and culture; while a boat dock allows transportation to and from Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba and The Heart of Sharjah.
“What makes Sharjah particularly attractive is that it offers an authentic Arab atmosphere complemented by sophisticated infrastructure and modern facilities, making it one of the most favoured family destinations,” said Midfa. “Families visiting the emirate nd it easy to supplement their time on the beach with other activities, such as cultural and sporting events as well as shopping and recreation.”
With family tourism representing 12.5% of the global tourism market, according to SCTDA, it’s no wonder that Sharjah is looking to broaden its appeal in this segment. “We are also focused on driving up investment and further development in tourism.
Visitors can also relax with their families in any of the near 55 parks in Sharjah. Al Montazah Park, a 126,000-square-metre theme park features pulsating rides plus Al Montazah Adventures, that offers a selection of gladiator-inspired obstacle courses.
Also for the outdoorsy and adventurous, the emirate offers water sports, snorkelling and diving activities on its east coast, where families have the option to either camp on the beach or stay in any of the hotels that line the coast.
A shoppers’ paradise, the emirate is home to a host of modern malls, many of which include massive entertainment centres for children: Sahara Centre, for example, houses an indoor family entertainment park – Adventureland – complete with an Aztec- and Mayan-inspired interior, as well as electronic games and rides, including an indoor roller coaster.