The SCTDA Chairman made these observations in his speech at the Graduation Ceremony of the 2011 Sharjah Tourist Guides Program that took place Thursday (October 27) at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Some 28 Tourist Guide Program graduates from two batches in Year 2011 were granted licences by the SCTDA. The Tourist Guides Program is an initiative of the Sharjah Government and the University of Sharjah.
Speaking on the occasion, Al Qassimi pointed out that tourism is a key contributor and driver of economic growth for any country. “This is more so in the case of Sharjah and the UAE. Sharjah’s tourism sector has not just established itself on the world tourism map, it has emerged as a major contributor to the national economy and growth of the country,” said the SCTDA chairman.
The vision of Sharjah’s leadership and persistent efforts of the SCTDA and its tourism industry partners have contributed to the amazing growth of the tourism sector in the past few years. Sharjah today enjoys a unique profile that attracts visitors from around the world, growing from 600,000 tourists in 2001 to more than a million and half today, Al Qassimi emphasised.
He urged the tourism industry and tourist guides in particular to make Sharjah a wholesome experience for international visitors by presenting the best of Sharjah before them and familiarising them with the emirate’s rich history, heritage and culture and its unique status as the Cultural Capital of the Arab and Islamic world.
He said that the growing tourism industry of Sharjah and the UAE that increasingly attracts the Europeans and Asians as well as visitors from neighbouring Gulf Arab states today demands world class tourism professionals and services.
As part of the 2011 Tourist Guides Program, trainees were given theory lessons as well as practical training. The tourist guides trainees, who came from a rich mix of nationalities from around the world, were given a firm footing in the history of Sharjah, the UAE and the region, apart from being updated on the latest trends and developments in the tourism sector.
In addition, field visits to various important tourism sites in the emirate, including museums, commercial outlets, archaeological sites, etc, were organised to increase the candidates’ awareness of Sharjah’s tourism profile and the SCTDA’s role and responsibilities in developing the tourism sector.