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ISSUES ¡ 2009

Sharjah aims at becoming region's top tourism sector




In an effort to bolster Sharjah as a prominent • cultural and tourism destination of the region, the initiation ofthe Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) was announced recently. Shurooq, which translates into "Sunrise", is considered the wider umbrella under which some important landmark development projects of the emirate will take place in the near future.

family entertainment destination to be the germ behind the idea of Shurooq. "AI Oasba was transformed from a quiet NCOhub into the most successful family and events destination in Sharjah. Following this success,a number of local and international investors have approached the government of Sharjah with propositions for more family centred projects in Sharjah, prompting the establishment of Shurooq,"she said.

The idea of Shurooq, which has been incubating the last two years, has developed into a fully fledged operation since February 2009. Currently Shurooq willconcentrate on developing more tourist and family sites in Sharjah, while holding fast to the cultural roots of the emirate.

AI Oasba's CEO Marwan lassim Al Sarkal has also been announced CEO of Shurooq, prompting the team behind AI Oasba's success story to roll up their sleeves and begin workon other projects falling under the authority's umbrella. "AI Oasba has been a winning learning curve for us. The combination of good leadership, effort put in by the all the employeesas a team, and the very concept of recreating a facility that offers exceptional family entertainment at affordable rates has been a winning recipe on this project. I have no doubt on achieving the greater success by extending the same effort on future projects under Shurooq," he said.

Future projects of the authority though are by no means limited to just creating tourist and family friendly hubs. "The scope ofwork that falls under the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority is wide and varied. What we have here is an authority that would most certainly spell the future of the emirate of Sharjah on the development scale, and the impacts of Shorouq will no doubt be far reaching ones," said H.E Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan AI Oasimi, who has been appointed chairperson of Shurooq. H.ESheikhaBodour,whois alsochairpersonoftheAIOasba Development Authority, denotes the successof AIOasba's metamorphosis into a resplendent tourism, cultural and

Sustainable development Sustainable development, an eco-friendly approach, and adhering to the cultural orientation of the emirate of Sharjah are some of the basic ingredients of Shurooq projects. The developments of many sanctuaries, which are also on the list of future Shurooq projects, are based on a strong ecotourism structure.

A winning combination Established by an Emiri degree by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed AI Oassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, Shurooq will enjoyindependent juridical personality on administrative and financial levels. It is also authorised with necessary legal mandate to carry out all activities that guarantee the achievement of its objectives. An independent entity in its own right, the authority headquartered in Al Oasba, with the right to open branches in the UAE and abroad. So it is a win-win situation fo r organisations tobe affiliated

with Shurooq. While the investments will come mainly from the private sector, the authority will act on behalf of the government, and as partner in some projects. Shurooq also takes a holistic approach towards nurturing organizations under its care. It takes a keen interest in the investment facet of projects that fall under its wing and also adopts beststandards and practices in relation to attracting the right investors. Acting as a facilitator of new projects, the authorityalsotakes care ofthe infrastructural base for investment projects affiliated with it. Shurooq will work as an independent entity which will undertake commercially viable projects to generate its own income, in addition to receiving government grant injections. The bod y also has the prerogative to own land and invest in real estate projects.


[SSUE8 ¡ 2009


AI Qasba • par ti c ipat e d successfully at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 200 9 this May, drawing more than thousands of visitors at the leading travel and tourism exhibition of the region. Al Qasba's stand was a major attraction for the visitors and witnessed a special visit from His Highness Sheikh Moham med bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Excellancy Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed AI Qassimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority. With some fantastic concepts and designs inclusive ofthe interesting trademark silhouettes placed around site, and the premier destination's

latest services and offers, coupled with the new developments, Al Qasba stirred quite a buzz among investors and visitors. The last day of the four day exhibition hosted a draw organized at the AI Qasba stand where four lucky winners won valuable prizes including twocomplementary tickets from AI Arabia Airlines and a special visit package from Al Qasba.

AI Oasba makes popular comeback at ITB Berlin 2009

In an effort to promote AI Qasba as a key driver in Sharjah's tourism industry, the AI Qasba Deveiopment Authority continues on its course in participating in all major travel and tourism exhibitions outside the region as well. During



consecutive participation at the biggest travel and tourism exhibition, Al Qasba attracted a large number of visitors at ITB Berlin 2009 last month. Thanks to the destination's superb bouquet of offerings from a cultural melting-pot to the exciting year-round activities, visitors to the exhibition were enthralled by the new "Be Part of It" Al Qasba concept. ITB Berlin 2008, which is considered the most important exhibition that is provided by Messe Berlin World -every year, has a wide global participation. The combination of trade exhibition, public exhibition and the biggest professional convention worldwide attracts tens of thousands of visitors, exhibitors and media representatives every year.

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IS$UE 8 2009 M

Sharjah Central Market - a quick dip into the city's cultural heritage

Picturesque from â&#x20AC;˘ the outside and a world of its own in the inside, Sharjah's Central Market - or the Blue Souq, as it's more popularly known because of its beautiful blue marbled exterior- is one ofthe city's must-visit landmarks. Whether you are just out for a stroll along the rich and musky corridors of the traditional market, or intend to do some serious shopping, the Blue Souq offers you everything from traditional trinkets to gold jewellery. One of Sharjah's most famous landmarks with its unique Islamic design, a visit to the Blue Souq is one of the quickest ways to immerse oneself in the city's cultural heritage.The 600-odd charming shops

at the market offer almost everything for tourists.

emanate a real bazaar atmosphere.

The sixelongated buildings decorated with blue tiles and superimposed wind towers make this construction from 1978 look much like a belle epoque train station. Located close to the Khaled Lagoon, the Blue Souq is the most photographed building in the Emirates.

A large area in the lower floor is dedicated to gold jewellery with some of the country's reputed stores selling the best of gold. Precious stones, perfumes, antique and pseudo antique items, textiles, cosmetics, cameras, clothing and household items are also available on the lower floors.

The Souq has two sections connected by tunnels. In one wing shoppers will find goods, gifts and electronics,whilethe other section features gold, gems and jewellery. The upper floors with their wonderful collection of fine carpets, scarves, silver jewellery, Yemeni Omani and antique jewellery, curios and artifacts emanates

The market also has a number of food and beverage out1ets where you can recharge your energy. The Central Market is open from9am to 1pm and from 4pm to ll pm from Saturday to Thursday. On Fridays it is closed from noon to 4pm.


ISSU E8 . 2009



Puccini's Classic La Boheme sends audience in tears An enraptured audience at AI Qasba ended up in tears at Puccini's most popular opera, "La Boheme" performed on March 12 at the AI Qasba outdoor theatre. The musical. considered the finest score by the world' s greatest opera composer was performed by the European


Chamber Opera (ECHO) - one of Europe's best­ known opera production houses - for the first time in Sharjah.

Paris was brought to life with a blend of superb performances by the talented cast, coupled with a great musical score.

With ravishing melodies and absorbing drama, the tragic story of two lovers who meet, part and meet again only for the heroine to die, set in the 1830' s

Held under the kin d patronage of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal Al Qassim i, the musical was held in association wit h Coral Beach Resort.

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ISSUES · 2009


Candlelit dinners • and starry nights are not just romantic notions, but very practical steps towards helping combat global warming, proved AI Qasba, the region's premier tourism and cultural destination, when it participated in the Earth Hour switch off on March 28. Switching off all non­ essential lights and power, AI Qasba was the first tourism destination in the UAE to participate in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative that was first introduced in 2007, and swept through the world with over a billion people's participation this year. Darkness did nothing to deter the inherent charm of thepicturesquedestination. Blanketed in the night, with just the twinkling of the fairy-tale low wattage lights adorning the date palms and the Etisalat Eye of the Em irates, and the warm glow of candlelight transcending from the restaurants lining the Al

Extra Extra Mini Mart XMARKS THE SPO Tl

As the complete • family hub, AI Qasba adds on yet another feature - convenience. Now with the new convenience store on the block "Extra Extra", visitors can fulfill most

of their shopping needs at this wonderful leisure destination. At "Extra Extra" you can get just what the name implies - all the extra essentials you won't find

in most other AI Qasba outlets, From snacks to phone cards, with a wide range of everyday products, the store offers a fresh perspective and friendly customer service to our visitors.

Qasba canal, the result was an hour of saved energy and a romantic interlude at AI Qasba. "At AI Oasba we strongly believe in the concept of a greener planet. Our use or misuse of resources today spells out the future of this world. Standing together with the world at the "Earth Hour" campaign, and adhering to our own policy of effective and efficient use of energy is our show ofcommitment in fighting global warming," commented Marwan AI Sarkal, CEO of AI Qasba Development Authority.

Earth Hour 2009 It was a huge global success with 3,937 towns cities and turning alit their lights for one hour across 88 countries. With almost a billion people mobilised, Earth Hour 2009 was the biggest environmental demonstration in history.


ISSUE8 - 2009








Surprises at Al Qasba 'Employee of the Year 2009' Awards

Al Oasba resonated wit h sur prise, squeals and applause at the recent "Employee of the Year 2009" awards ceremony held on April 14. In a new twist, Al Oasba honoured three of it s employees this year, opposed to it s practice of just two nominees

in the previ ous years. Hamda AI Abdooli , Govern ment Relations Manager, Mohammed Ali from th e Customer Service divi sion and Ayah Mohammed Sarraj, the Publi c Relat ions & Media Coordi nator were the thrilled winners. "[ my

couldn't believe ears when the

announcement s were made - it was a fant astic surprise and I am very happy to be appr eciated for my efforts !" said a delight ed Ayah who has been work ing for AI Oasba for the past four years and promoted as Public Relations & Media Coordi nator recently. "I believe I have grow n along wit h the destinati on. I am honored for bein g chosen for thi s award, which [ would love to share wi t h my colleagues in apprecia tion for their constant support and efforts", she said. Marwan AI Sar kal , CEO of the Al Oasba Development Aut hority

and Reem AI Badran, Dir ector of Talent Centre, handed over t he awards. Commentingo n theaward ceremony, AI Sarkal said, "At AI Oasba we believe in our employees and ai m at developi ng th eir ski lls beari ng in mi nd thei r si ncere effort s and achievement s. The award serves to reinforce the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff, which in turn boosts the level of service t hat we offer our customer s." The ceremony included activ ities aimed at buil ding knowledge,team spir it and leadership sk ill s of the employees in an informal and fun atmosphere.




Etisalat Eye of the Emir ates ceiebrated its four th anniversary in styl e on the 14th of Apr il. Aspectaculars how replete

with laser shows, pyr o (Fire) shows, sil k dancers, acrobats performing inside bubbles and some fantastic fir ework s in li eu of the region 's highest observatory wheel was

enjoyed by all. The Fire, Water, Air themed party has been the Sharjah landmar k structure's best birthday celebrations yet!


ISSUE8~ 2009


Join hands with Al Qasba to raise awareness for

the misunderstood millions

Imagine livin g in a shell. Not knowing what it is to express joy or sorrow.. not kn owing how to laugh at a joke or tell a short story. Not being able to make friends easily, and not being able to talk when you want to...


Tens of milli ons of chil dren and adul ts acrossthe world have been diagnosed wit h some degree of autism, a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. Still mil lions of indi viduals have gone undiagnosed, misunderstood and doomed to a life asoutcasts of society. In an effort to shine a light on the silent suffering of autistic individuals, AI Qasba joined hands with aut ism organisations wit h "A Walk for Autism"

chariry event on Apri l 25. The walkathon was the concluding event of AI Oasba's Autism Week, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for auti stic individuals in the United Arab Emirates. A host of awareness programs including talks by specialists were open to the public from April 19 to 25, educating hundreds of visitors. Various autism organizations in the UAE benefited from the proceeds from the walkathon and collection boxes placed around AI Qasba duri ng the AI Qasba Auti sm Week.

ADifference ofMind Characterised by the abnormal development of communication

skill s, social skills and reasoning, autism is considered the fastest­ growing and most serious development disabil ity in many countries. There is no known reason for auti sm, and no cure at this time. There are some medications and therapy options, but they can be quite expensive. Autistic children display a wide spectrum of attention deficit, social interaction problems, communication di fficu lti es, and sometimes, hyperacti vity and delay in motor skill s. Chil dren do not outgrow autism. Studies however point that early diagnosis and intervention coupled with the right support system can help people with autism lead full and meani ngful lives.

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ISSUES - 2009


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Byke it at Al Qasba



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Addingmorefunto the vibrant famil y destination, AI Oasba has introduced special go-cart shaped pedaling bikes for visitors to cruise along the picturesque AI Oasba canal. Provid ed by a UAE based company, the bik es are designated to a special ridin g area.

A single bike can be rented for Dh20, the couple's for Dh30 and a family bike accommodating up to four persons for Dh40, for a duration of half-an hour. Bykys for chil dren over three years will also be introduced shortly at AI Oasba. "All bikes are made in Europe ' and meet int ernational safety standards. The family bikes can carry up to 350kg, the tw in bikes up

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midnight on weekdays and from 4pm to 1am on weekends. Visitors will be requested to produce some form of identity and a refundable deposit of Dh 100 for renting the Bykys.

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ISSUE 8 - 2009

Al Qasba Food Festival 2009 attracts all the family for a 10-day non-stop fun!


Feedyour mind

Aromatic food wagons lured visitors. Titled "Feed Your Mind", this year's Food Fest was a deli cious fusion of food, entertain ment and educati on, wit h fashionable Food Wagons selling ware to tease the taste buds of every taste and nationality.

Celebrations Fantastic fireworks lit up the AI Qasba sky li ne. Keeping alive the AI Qasba tradit ion, visitors to the Food Fest 2009 wit nessed some remark able fi rework shows this year

Competitions There were some nail biti ng moments at the dail y Cookery Competit ions. The event sparked off some serious culi nary competi tions and churned upso me delici ous dishes, attracting thr ongs of visitors.

Shows This year' s festivi ties brought in a host of fantastic new ent ertainment events and olds favour ites thr il ling AI Qasba visi tors with the superb blend of fri volous fun and thrill ing perform ances by talented teams of jugglers, acrobats, comedians and musicians.


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