REDEFINING AN INDUSTRY

UAE, Sharjah 2017 | TOURISM & SPORTS | FOCUS: ECO-TOURISM

Sharjah is attracting tourists through unique resort experiences that connect guests and visitors with the Emirate's natural beauty, landscapes, and wildlife in sustainable ways.

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) is revitalizing, revolutionizing, and refocusing tourism in the Emirate of Sharjah. In efforts to offer tourists something more unique and engaging than an extravagant resort vacation experience, Shurooq is imagining and investing in a new era of hotels, lodges, and resorts to establish a new brand of eco-tourism in the UAE and throughout the world.

The Kalba Kingfisher Lodge on the eastern shores of Sharjah is a five-star destination where guests can peacefully enjoy the natural beauty and unique wildlife of Kalba. At the foot of the UAE's eastern mountain range, nestled between mangroves and lagoons, the Kalba Kingfisher Lodge allows guests to enjoy the distinctive blend of local flora and fauna in a zero-impact, sustainable facility with 20 luxury tents, each containing a private pool and view of either the Indian Ocean or the mangrove forests. Additionally, guests will have access to an outdoor yoga area, wellness center, and other public facilities. But the true strengths of the Lodge lie in the engrossing natural habitat. Kalba is a major nesting site for the Hawksbill Sea Turtle and indigenous birds such as the Kingfisher and other falcons, eagles, and owls. The Kingfisher Lodge is unrivaled in its ability to display this landscape so intimately while preserving it for future generations.

The Kalba Kingfisher Lodge will complement the other developments on Sharjah's beautiful, and largely unspoiled, east coast. Development of Al Hisn Island and the cruise terminal at Khorfakkan has already begun. The former, located in Dibba Al Hisn, is the construction of a resort as a leisure and tourist attraction to exhibit the area's rock formations, Indian Ocean views, and natural beauty. The latter will open the region logistically in supplement of a large international airport or a cross-country highway, thus allowing the coast to be both hard to reach for messy crowds but accessible for those who plan ahead.
A staggering new conservation project called the Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre has been inaugurated by HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and led by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority. Its core purpose is to protect endangered species, such as the Arabian wolf and the Arabian leopard, while also allowing citizens and guests to view the diverse wildlife native to the region. The center will also feature an indoor portion that hosts and displays snakes, lizards, fish, hedgehogs, and scorpions. Among his many passions, HH has demonstrated time and again that preserving the natural landscape and all its inhabitants is a top priority. Two decades ago, he oversaw the establishment of the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, which provided over 30 animal species to the conservation center.

Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project is the perfect mix of Sharjah's USPs of irreplaceable cultural depth, long and well-documented history, and attractive destination for families. Located adjacent to the Mleiha Archaeological Center, an interactive museum, the Mleiha Desert Resort will offer guests an immersive stay in the desert as well as a very visual, historic glimpse into the past. Located at a pre-historic site, guests will be afforded unparalleled access to Mleiha as well as the Jabal Bu'hais and Jabal Faya regions of Sharjah. The resort will offer a full range of luxurious services such as restaurants, cafes, health club, and swimming pool, all while offering guests an unforgettable combination of eco-tourism, historical context, and Arabian hospitality.
Shurooq sees its investment in Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project and others as the dawn of a new era of tourism, an evolved notion of combining cultural, historic, and natural attractions with five-star hotels and resorts to create an all-inclusive experience for guests and visitors. Coupled with HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi's passion for history, the environment, and preserving cultural traditions, Sharjah embarks upon a new chapter of eco-tourism and sustainability.