x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dh1 billion boost to Sharjah tourism

Plans will bring revenue to areas in eastern and central regions.

Sharjah // Almost Dh1 billion is being spent to develop tourism in eastern and central regions of Sharjah.

The emirate's government announced construction projects aimed at bringing facilities and infrastructure in areas such as Dibba Al Hisn and Kalba up to a level similar to Sharjah City.

The projects include a Dh500 million plan to attract visitors to Dibba with the creation of Al Hisn Island and an eco-tourism project in Kalba. Dh420 million is also being spent building the Khorfakhan Chedi resort.

"The new project in Dibba Al Hisn will be a leisure and tourism development that will be a new unique destination for the area's residents, as well as visitors and tourists," said Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, chief executive of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).

"The projects are being developed on the directives of the ruler of Sharjah to developing the Eastern Region.

"The aim is to deliver projects that serve the interests of citizens in these areas, drive economic growth, and attract investments that help create jobs and add economic value to Sharjah city and the emirate in general."

Plans to develop eco-tourism in Kalba will be centred around Kalba Lake, already a popular destination with locals, and will be made up of restaurants, retail outlets, family parks and places to watch wildlife. Mangroves and hafiya tree forests will also be created around Kalba city.

"Engineers and environmental specialists are conducting the necessary studies and research to carry out the project to the highest international environmental standards and develop the project to help protect the area and its various environmental components," said Mr Al Sarkal.

An eco-friendly hotel with more than 300 rooms and chalets will also be built overlooking the Gulf of Oman.

In Khorfakhan, Shurooq is carrying out studies to develop the Khorfakkan Corniche with the aim of adding amenities such as family areas, parks and public utilities.

The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort is due to open in 2015.

Shurooq also has plans to develop a leisure project in the Al Badayer desert, an area in the Central Region known for its impressive sand dunes.

The project will include an integrated tourism complex with restaurants and cafes, an outdoor theatre, camel and horse riding areas and Bedouin camps.

ykakande@thenational.ae