One of our outreach strategies is to facilitate virtual access to our museums' collections so that people who cannot physically visit our museums can still benefit from it. The other two strategies relate to physical and intellectual access. In this regard, SMD continuously seeks to extend its commitment to access and engagement with the virtual domain. SMD has been a major contributor to the largest virtual museum in the world, the Museum with No Frontiers. Over 100 objects from the SMD collections are featured in its database and its permanent virtual exhibitions dedicated to Islamic art and important historical topics such as its most recent, “Sharing History-The Arab World and Europe 1815-2015,” an international intercultural collaboration to explore relations between the West and the Islamic World during a crucial time in world history. In addition, SMD consistently works to build bridges of cultural exchange and dialog with international organizations. We have an ongoing collaboration with the Berlin State Museums and also brought in the Goethe Institute as a third strategic partner. Together, we now organize the SAWA Museum Academy, a capacity-building program for current and future museum personnel in Arab countries, Germany, and the West. On a more general note, we look forward to an exciting and dynamic continuation of our ongoing temporary exhibitions and educational activities across our 16 museums and heritage sites.
Directing General, Sharjah Museums Department (SMD)
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi
Chairman, Sharjah Media Centre
Our most important role is to communicate, opening and maintaining channels for dialog. It is better for individuals and entities to talk about their own positive and even negative image than for someone else to speak about it. We used to lack this dialog in Sharjah, but we are now taking the lead and sharing our experience with others. Our annual forum is one way of finding out what people are thinking. We get a lot of very high-profile speakers and people attending who have vast experience and knowledge that we can draw on and subsequently implement in Sharjah. We trust the people we bring to this event and benefit from their experience, and we implement their ideas under our remit. In 2017, our theme is about how to make society prosperous through inclusion. You cannot have a prosperous society unless you include everyone in its development; for example, you have to include women, children, the younger generations, and disabled people. This is what we have here. We have honed in on issues that relate to women, the disabled, young people, and children. We have had all these segments of society participating in the forum so we can listen to them and find solutions to communication issues.
Khalid Jasim Al Midfa
Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
Sharjah has become more prominent in its positioning, and investment in the Emirate has grown. Multinational hotels are opening up, which increases our profile on the global stage. Our events are becoming world famous; for example the Sharjah light Festival has been compared to Sydney's Vivid, the World Championship week has been streamed live globally, and our International Book Fair is now the third-biggest in the world. We now plan to expand the MICE market and see another 7,000 key events coming in over next three years. In environmental tourism, we achieved a lot through collaborative approach to deliver unique and exciting eco-tourism products. Furthermore, we have kept our top source markets and added to them. The GCC continues to dominate the list of Sharjah's source regions for the tourism sector, sending 450,388 visitors to the Emirate in 2016, which amounts to 25% of total visitors. Asian markets have continued to grow throughout 2016, constituting a 9% increase from the 370,528 Asian visitors who came to the Emirate in 2015. Europe sent 348,570 visitors to the Emirate, 20% of all visitors to Sharjah in 2016. Non-GCC Arab countries came in fourth as a source region for Sharjah's tourism sector, with 262,027 tourists visiting the Emirate in 2016, 15% of total visitors.