WTM London draws in upwards of 50,000 participants, while generating more than $3 billion in travel industry contracts. At this grand event, Sharjah will be celebrating being named as World Book Capital for 2019.
Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) is preparing to participate for the 15th year running in the prestigious World Travel Market (WTM) fair, taking place in London in November. In the lead-up to this event, the Authority is able to reflect on the huge successes it secured throughout 2017.
The WTM London has become an unrivalled must attend event for any entity with a stake in the travel and tourism sector. The fair draws in upwards of 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers, and international press, while generating more than £2.5 billion ($3.24 billion) in travel industry contracts. It has always been a great platform to tackle international issues that relate to the travel and tourism industry. It is one of the must go to events as Sharjah continues to solidify the emirate’s place as a tourism place of note and further promote it as a diverse year-round destination, the Authority will be introducing the audience at the fair to its calendar of events including the Sharjah International Book Fair, Sharjah Heritage Days, and Sharjah Art Biennial, the world-famous Sharjah Light Festival as well as sports events including, the final race of the U.I.M. F1H2O World Championship, and the Aquabike World Championship grand prix.
The Authority will introduce visitors at WTM to the new additions of its already rich touristic offering – this includes Sharjah International Airport’s expansion, the opening of our new East Coast office and tourism centre, the additions to the famed Al Majaz waterfront, historic Mleiha archaeological site, where excavations unearthed multi-chambered tombs where horses and camels were laid to rest by their masters’ sides, in addition to buildings ranging from small houses to a multi-purpose fort, Al Noor Island with its beautiful butterfly house hosting over 500 butterflies.
The Authority is also pleased to announce that Sharjah has been named the World Book Capital for 2019. The honour is a recognition of the emirate’s pioneering role in supporting and expanding the local and regional publishing industries, promoting reading to become an intrinsic cultural practice, as well as embracing intercultural, knowledge-based dialogue.
The accolade is an important addition to Sharjah’s existing portfolio of milestones like, Capital of Arab Culture (1998), Capital of Islamic Culture (2014), and Capital of Arab Tourism (2015). More so, the emirate WTM London draws in upwards of 50,000 participants, while generating more than $3 billion in travel industry contracts. At this grand event, Sharjah will be celebrating being named as World Book Capital for 2019. SHARJAH gears up for WTM London XYZ is the first in the GCC and third in the Arab world and Middle East, to have received this recognition.
Celebrate with Sharjah
The emirate’s busy and exciting events calendar offers visitors a taste of year round festivity. Sharjah is that perfect hidden gem of a holiday destination offering something special for everyone. Visitors will be entranced by vast lengths of undulating sandy beaches fringed by shady palms, clear azure waters teeming with an astonishing variety of marine life, carefully preserved historical attractions, extreme sports and activities for the intrepid and its own charming culture – as inviting as a fragrant cup of kawa (Arabic coffee).
This captivating emirate does not rest on its laurels. However, the events calendar is buzzing with celebrations and festivals that are a unique blend of culture, sports, entertainment, past and present – all showcasing Sharjah’s fascinating attractions, allowing guests to uncover the distinct beating heart of the region.
As the cooler months approach, the higher pursuit and pure pleasure of reading is brought to the fore with the Sharjah International Book Fair, the third largest book fair in the world. Now in its 36th year, the book fair is one of the most prominent bastions of Sharjah’s cultural and educational landscapes. Born out of an urge to promote literacy in the region, the book fair has grown from humble beginnings as a small fair in a tent to now attracting record numbers of visitors annually–2.3 million in 2016, along with publishing representatives from 60 different countries. Books are available in a number of different languages and subjects and the fair has become a meeting point for intellectuals from all over the world. Famous authors, actors and Booker prize winners have all been known to attend the Sharjah Book Fair and with discounts, fun shows and programmes for all, it is no wonder that the fair grows yearly in reputation and popularity, more than fulfilling its original vision of spreading the pleasure of reading.
Proving that Sharjah is an emirate with something for everyone, the educational world of books gives way to the exciting world of high octane sports with the U.I.M. F1H2O World Powerboat Championship. The waters of the emirate’s normally placid Kahlid Lagoon are churned in swells as daredevil drivers push themselves and their powerboats in ever-challenging moves, providing thrilling viewing for the spectators that line the corniche (waterside walkway). This international motorboat racing competition has in recent years been followed by the equally exciting and edge-of-your-seat Sharjah Aquabike Grand Prix, where drivers flip and dive in astonishing displays as they race. Both events, taking place in December, culminate with the champions being crowned next to the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
In February, Sharjah takes things up a notch, the Sharjah Light Festival, the world’s most acclaimed light festival, combining local talents and internationally renowned artists switches on again. The Sharjah Light Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to be amazed by the beautifully composed music, ingenuity of the artists and technical masters who curate the stunning illuminations onto the inspiring architecture of Sharjah. SLF is a highly anticipated event as each year it takes the advancements of technology and transforms them with an elegant touch into something awe-inspiring. The emirate’s architectural wonders and beautiful landmarks are newly seen, their rare and stunning details beautifully highlighted by the wonders of modern light technology in displays that take place over 10 days and a huge range of locations all over the emirate. No other event can exemplify so many of the emirate’s gifts in this all-encompassing way; heritage and culture, beauty and sophistication.
A well-deserved reputation as a beacon of imaginative expression and thought-provoking artistic interpretation heralds the Sharjah Art Biennial, a platform for artists to collaborate, produce and display work. A non-commercial contemporary art event that takes place every two years, the biennial began in 1993 and has been curated by curators from all over the world and continually fosters the idea that every community needs access to and an understanding of artistic culture, which in turn will afford a greater understanding of and benevolence towards all other cultures and communities. The biennial is characterised by its interesting themes, sometimes contemplative, sometimes challenging and an open-minded approach to art. The Sharjah Art Biennial rami- fies into almost all versions of art a viewer could wish for, beyond the straightforward paint on paper; visitors come from all over the world to view art installations, interactive exhibitions, poetry readings and collaborative performances taking place at venues all over Sharjah bringing art and culture to everyone.
In the spring, Sharjah turns its thoughts to heritage and celebrates the history of the emirate in an evocative event that brings glimpses of the past into the present. The idea that one should always remember the past and learn from the events, activities and people of history is brought to the fore in this fun filled charming event organized annually to coincide with the UNESCO celebration of World Heritage Day on April 18 every year. Emirati culture and traditions are explored and displayed in a festival that appeals to all visitors. Traditional food such as luqaimat (fried dough balls, drizzled with date syrup), children’s games made out of wood and rope, barasti (palm frond) shelters, old-fashioned handicrafts, music, dancing and folklore stories are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The event encourages the participation of youth and children specially to ensure that the memories, events and lessons of the region’s past remain a guiding light.
Summer 2017 saw Sharjah launch its first summer campaign, introducing a package of world-class events and promotions, setting the emirate apart in the way of enticements. The Sharjah Summer weekend nights brimmed with exceptionally entertaining theatrical and cinematic shows. The event was enjoyed by children and adults alike with its many activities such as a splash park, pirate village, free movie nights, food and beverage stalls, an arts and crafts workshop, and much more.
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