About Sharjah: Around the city in 1.15h

About Sharjah: Around the city in 1.15h Lily B. Libo-on / 1 June 2013 Sharjah’s premier tourist destinations and heritage sites can be served up in an hour and 15 minutes. Three double-decker city sightseeing buses have been bringing tourists to more than 20 museums, traditional souqs, beaches, parks, as well as Al Majaz Waterfront and Al Qasba. One of the City Sightseeing Sharjah buses. — KT photo by M. Sajjad To Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the ‘City Sightseeing Sharjah’ tour buses will provide an international standard of service to further develop the emirate’s already flourishing tourism industry. The daily “hop on, hop off” tours on the‘City Sightseeing Sharjah’ buses, where tourists can get on and off at different stops they choose, are an affordable service that can loop to destinations including the Central Souq, Marbella Resort Sharjah, Al Noor Mosque, Al Majaz Waterfront, Buhairah Corniche, Al Qasba, Sharjah Aquarium, Al Khan Corniche/Beaches, Al Muntazah, the Fish Market, Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah’s Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Radisson BLU Resort, Clock Roundabout, and Mega Mall in just one hour and 15 minutes. Rosita, Filipina wife of German tourist Karsten Schmidt, said she had enjoyed the tour around Sharjah for just Dh85. “With Dh45 a child, our kids have (been able to) look around in places with fun. It is worth it,” Schmidt said. Italian tourist Aadishree is all praise for the tour sites and the quick but compact tour that goes around the important traditional, heritage and historical places of Sharjah. “I cannot believe it. Coming in and out of every museum, I can see historical Islamic maps, books of (His Highness) Shaikh Sultan (bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah), the traditional souqs, and the heart of Sharjah in just an hour and 15 minutes. It is so amazing.” Shurooq CEO Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal said the authority was constantly looking to expand Sharjah’s tourism infrastructure. “The addition of a tour bus service was the logical next step to further adding value to Sharjah’s tourism experience.” “The tour is part of the collective efforts to encourage significant projects that promote the emirate and boost its position on the world tourism map,” Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) Mohamed Ali Al Noman said. The SCTDA is keen to support all events and initiatives that help attract more international tourists and visitors to the emirate, the number of whom stands at more than 1.5 million annually. “All of us are constantly working to increase this number by various projects and events organised all year round.” The city sightseeing tour buses have a convertible rooftop that can be removed during the temperate winter months to create an open-top tour experience or kept in place to ensure a fully air-conditioned interior for comfortable summer tours. Launched in December 2012 and operational from mid-January, the sightseeing buses have captured a large number of tourists and residents. Shurooq is expecting more than 30,000 tourists by the end of this year. “Our strategy to collaborate closely with hotels, tour operators, travel agents, online booking engines, along with the support from the City Sightseeing worldwide, is positively boosting the expected number of passengers. At this point, we are happy that the service is becoming increasingly known amongst tourists and residents, and our focus is to further increase guest satisfaction, and deliver an exceptional tour in Sharjah linking all of its many touristic destinations,” Al Sarkal said. The service is also promoting attractions like the Heart of Sharjah, Al Majaz Waterfront and Al Qasba by increasing footfall and exposure. “We are working on linking all destinations to provide tourists with an exceptional overview and insight of the history, culture and heritage of Sharjah. This will also create interest amongst tourists visiting neighbouring emirates to come to Sharjah and explore its rich and diverse culture and heritage experience.” lily@khaleejtimes.com Taylor Scott International

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