A high-level meeting is in progress in Sharjah.
Staff Reporter, Gulf Today
The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) organised a business meeting with the Embassy of the Republic of North Macedonia in the UAE and the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), in the presence of a group of elite businessmen and tourism sector representatives.
The meeting was held due to the visit of an economic delegation from North Macedonia to the Emirate of Sharjah, during which SCCI highlighted the emirate’s tourism attractiveness and promoted its distinct place on the safe global tourism map.
The recently held meeting at SCCI was headed by Waleed Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, Second Vice-President, SCCI; Khalid Jasem Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA); Igor Popov, Ambassador, Director of the Directorate of Economic and Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-chair of the Joint Task Force on Trade and Investment between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of North Macedonia; Abdulkadar Memedi, Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia in the UAE; Nasser Musbah Ahmed Al-Taneiji and Halima Hamid Ali Al-Owais, Members of SCCI’s Board of Directors; Mohammed Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General, SCCI; Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of Economic Relations and Marketing at SCCI; and Fatima Khalifa Al Mokarrab, Director of SCCI’s International Relations Department.
In his remarks, Waleed Abdul Rahman Bukhatir underlined, “The areas of bilateral cooperation between Sharjah and North Macedonia are highly diversified. There are numerous potential opportunities to expand this cooperation in several different fields, including the tourism sector, which is undergoing a significant transition. As this sector continues to recover following the COVID-19 pandemic, global tourism is also recovering and accelerating its growth trajectories.”
“Furthermore, both countries possess competitive and distinct features as prominent tourist destinations, with Sharjah’s development tourism model representing a novel and innovative approach to establishing tourist strategies with long-term development implications. As a result, the tourism sector’s contribution to the Emirate’s economy constitutes 15% of its output, and the Emirate is eager to develop creative initiatives that promote tourism services and products,” Bukhatir added.
Abdulkadar Memedi also highlighted his country’s ambition of expanding ties with the Emirate of Sharjah in all areas, particularly tourism, owing to the fact that both nations are known for their distinct and diverse tourist attractions. He also emphasized the significance of such a meeting in exploring the emirate’s tourism features and strengthening cooperative relations.
“The strategy of the Republic of North Macedonia is to attract tourists from the Arab Gulf countries, with a target of 2 million and 600 thousand visitors this year and 3 million and 200 thousand visitors in 2023. This is due to the fact that it is ranked fifth in the world for attracting foreign tourists,” Memedi further pointed out.
Moreover, Ahmed Rashid bin Sheikh, Head of the European Market Division at SCTDA, highlighted Sharjah’s most important tourism features, stating that the emirate has witnessed a tremendous transition in such a vital sector in the last few years, with many of the leading environmental, heritage, and investment tourism projects being established.
He added that Sharjah has also developed the hotel sector, with over 100 hotel facilities, more than 10,000 rooms, and a variety of hotel categories; as a result, hotel occupancy reached more than Dhs120 million in the first quarter of this year. He also noted some of the most significant projects completed in the emirate, such as Sharjah Safari, which is believed to be the largest safari park outside of Africa, with 12 different environments.
In addition, Sharjah has an international airport that will be expanded in 2024 to attract more than 20 million visitors instead of 8 million.
Meanwhile, as part of its efforts in redefining the leisure and travel landscape of Sharjah and the region with an exciting expansion of portfolio offerings, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), has revealed details of its upcoming integrated large-scale development project in the Eastern enclave of Khorfakkan comprising a 5-star hotel, the first waterpark in the Eastern region, and more than 200 residential units.
Scheduled for completion in 2024, the luxury 5-star hospitality project, operating under the Autograph Collection by Marriott International and built on 38,000 sqm opposite the Khorfakkan port, will feature 75 deluxe units, pools, restaurants, and a ballroom for special occasions.
The proposed rooms include 62 single rooms, 5 double rooms, and 8 luxury suites offering stunning views of the Arabian Sea and offers unparalleled luxury for visitors to the tranquil eastern enclave.