In the course of its ongoing Asian tour, The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), headed by the Chairman Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi and the Director General, H.E. Mohamed A. Al Noman, met with high ranking Singaporean officials and a number of big businessmen and investors in Singapore. The purpose of the meeting was to find ways to enhance relationships and the exchange of experience in order to improve both countries’ economic, particularly tourism, sectors.
The meeting, which was attended by top Singaporean officials including His Excellency SOO Siew Keong, Director, International Relations Division of the Singaporean Government, explored ways to develop cooperation between the two countries’ tourism sectors and increase the number of tourists and investors.
Sheikh Sultan discussed the huge improvement in Singapore’s tourism and business sectors, making it the foremost place for tourism and business in the world. He also highlighted the factors which they have in common, in addition to their attractive business climates, which encourage investment in many areas, especially in tourism, now considered to be one of the major sectors supporting the GDP in both countries.
The officials discussed the common links between the two countries and the importance of improving and increasing cooperation in all sectors - especially tourism. The meeting also discussed ways to develop economic relationships in the different sectors and aspects of the exchange of cooperation and investment between the Emirate of Sharjah and Singapore. Sheikh Sultan confirmed the Emirate’s desire to benefit from the successful model of Singaporean tourism, as well as its interest in establishing and maintaining a strategic economic partnership with Singapore, saying:
‘We are delighted with the welcome that we received today from the Singaporean government. The points we discussed were of high importance and we managed to learn a lot from our discussion of the successful model of Singaporean tourism, which attracted over 9.7 million visitors in the past year - an increase of 9% compared to 2005’.
So Siu Keung discussed Singapore’s complete tourism strategy, including cooperation between both the private and public sectors, which the country has adopted in order to increase the number of tourists this year. He affirmed Singapore’s goal to draw tourists from the Middle East, especially the gulf region.
During his time in Singapore, Sheikh Sultan was introduced to a number of the Singaporean government’s successful planning experiments and the business center. He visited the city’s Urban Planning department, accompanied by H.E. Mohamed A. Al Noman and a number of Singaporean government officials, and saw the unique urban and construction planning experiments, which the government of Singapore is planning to use in the coming 10 years. They also visited a number of real estate mega projects currently under construction, in addition to other projects such as resorts and islands that aim to double the number of tourists to Singapore.
The visit of Sheikh Sultan was of great interest to Singaporean officials and businessmen and he was able to meet with His Highness LIN Jian Wei, Chairman of HB Holdings ( S ) Pte Ltd, the developer of one of China’s largest Commercial Ports, which also has huge investments in Singapore, including a number of large tourism establishments. Sheikh Sultan paid a visit to one of those establishments, the Raffles Hotel and Resort, in order to learn from the successful project in international tourism.
The SCTDA’s Asian tour comes at a time when Sharjah is experiencing rapid development in its tourism sector, which, from 2000 to the end of last year, has witnessed an increase of more than 100% in the number of tourists. This confirms the success of the strategy that the SCTDA has adopted to develop this sector by learning and benefiting from the successful business and tourism models of various countries world-wide.