Event’s first virtual edition discusses opportunities and challenges during COVID-19 era

Seventh edition of Sharjah Hospitality Forum highlights new and innovative solutions to accelerate tourism recovery

  • Confidence in future of local tourism sector growing in light of UAE’s fast response in combating COVID-19
  • Rising need to develop and update current tourism strategies to meet new reality
  • High turnout of international and local participants recorded

Sharjah,November 16, 2020:Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of Sharjah Executive Council, the Sharjah Hospitality Forum 2020 (SHF 2020) today (Monday, November 16, 2020) discussed the best and fastest recovery path for the emirate’s tourism sector with the participants proposing innovative solutions to support the stakeholders of the tourism, hospitality and travel industries and sustain their gradual return to growth and normalcy. Organized by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), the seventh edition of SHF, held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19,  highlighted the emerging tourism, hospitality and travel challenges and opportunities in a post-pandemic era.  The event also showcased the most successful tourism projects and the latest innovations that are driving tourism recovery.

High-profile speakers from the government and private sectors, experts, decision-makers, tourism and economic stakeholders, and representatives of local authorities and international organizations took part in the forum. The attendees included Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Director General, Department of eGovernment, Government of Sharjah; H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA; honor guest and speaker H.E. Abdulla Al Saleh Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade & Industry, and Natalia Bayona, Director of the Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments Department, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); and Tiffany Misrahi, Vice President of Policy, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Other speakers included international experts and executives such as Basmah Al-Mayman, Middle East Regional Director, UNWTO; Shalini Rajan, Head of Sales and Cargo, Air Arabia; Kashif Khalid, Regional Director – Africa & Middle East, International Air Transport Association (IATA); Fadel Ozmen, General Manager, Antics Tours Tourism; Hafeez Azzim, Regional Manager – Commercial Operations in the GCC, Middle East & Central Asia, Emirates; Shafiq Alaeddin, General Manager of Sharjah Group, Misk; Ahmed Obaid Al Tunaiji, Manager – Tourism Standards Department, SCTDA; and Majed Al Suwaidi, Director of the Manager of Overseas Promotions Department, SCTDA.

The forum’s series of virtual dialogue sessions highlighted the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global tourism and travel sector, as well as the future growth prospects for airline and travel companies amid exceptional challenges today. Practical solutions were posited by attendees to accelerate recovery, while putting forward short and long-term opportunities and the importance of deploying innovative platforms, including smart and remote-work tools, allowing for successful adapting to the new reality. 

The first session titled ‘Domestic Tourism in Light of the Current Challenges’ was moderated by Dr. Mariam Taha, while the second session headed by Dr. Mohit Vij was titled ‘The future of airlines, travel and tourism industry- Costs and Benefits.’ During the third session, Dr. Amal Ali led the discussions on the rapid digital transformation of the tourism sector and the remote-work set-up within the sector as a result of the pandemic. The fourth and final session titled ‘International Protocols for Infectious Diseases, pandemic and crise management’ was moderated by Ajay Bhojwani, Regional Director General of MCI.

The forum also shed light on the UAE’s COVID-19 response and strategies as the country was included in the top 10 countries in the world for coronavirus treatment. The participants expressed confidence in the country’s future growth prospects, citing the significant initiatives and economic stimulus packages launched by the UAE’s wise leadership to bring back vibrancy to the tourism and hospitality sectors while following precautionary measures. Visibly prompt government actions have enhanced confidence in the UAE as one of the world’s safest tourism, hospitality and entertainment destinations.

The discussions also addressed the international protocols for contagious diseases, epidemics and crises, as well as their impact on the future of tourism as a major global economic sector. In addition, the participants exchanged insights and best practices to support tourism recovery in the coming era.         

H. E. Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al-Qassimi, Director General of Sharjah Department of eGovernment, said: “Tourism is among the hardest-hit sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that has deeply challenged all segments of society, especially the healthcare, social, and economic sectors. However, despite its negative impact, the pandemic has spurred the growth of digital transformation. In this respect, the UAE has demonstrated its readiness and ability to ensure business continuity in vital sectors, including travel, tourism, and hospitality, capitalizing on the country’s advanced technological infrastructure. In line with the directives of H. H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, we remain committed to provide top-notch technical services to all Sharjah’s governmental entities, using world-class platforms, while ensuring compliance with the highest standards of cybersecurity and personal privacy. We are confident that the ongoing global crisis will eventually come to an end, and the tourism sector will restore its vibrancy and growth, supported by integrated digital solutions designed to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for tourists and visitors alike.”          

“Sharjah Hospitality Forum is being held at a time when there is a growing need for mobilizing and fostering national and international efforts to launch effective initiatives that would expedite the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sectors. These sectors are among the pillars of sustainable global economic development. We see major tourism opportunities, but we need to adopt new mechanisms and innovative methods not only to seize available opportunities but also to efficiently address emerging challenges and sustain the industry’s attractiveness and competitiveness,” said H.E Al Midfa.  

Al Midfa added: “The world continues to bounce back from the pandemic’s impact. We are fully ready to implement successful solutions and creative projects to ensure tourism’s steady and fast recovery, with emphasis on several factors such as air traffic, travel regulations and visa procedures, country entry and exit traffic, and applicable safety protocols, among others. For our part, we have adopted a strategy that relies on three themes. The first one revolves around service development and safe domestic tourism promotion to encourage citizens and residents to rediscover Sharjah and the UAE. We have also introduced the Safety Stamp to ensure the compliance of the tourism and hospitality industries with the highest health practices, as well as the Safe Travel certificate for international safety, health and hygiene in travel and tourism. We have put in place other safety and protective measures and standards to provide integrated tourism experiences in a healthy and safe environment. As for the second theme, it focuses on targeting new markets after air traffic returns to normal and when the global markets fully open. The third theme includes the adoption of effective measures under the ‘new normal’ to ensure the recovery of the tourism community and bring the sector back to its pre-pandemic status.”               

Al Midfa concluded: “We are optimistic about the future of tourism as we continue to develop proactive strategies and creative solutions in line with the requirements of the current era. In this regard, we are confident that Sharjah’s tourism will soon return to its growth path, driven by the unwavering government support, continuous infrastructural developments and current projects and initiatives that have retained momentum despite the global health crisis. All these are positive growth indicators. We are also pleased to host leading local and international experts during the virtual forum, which threw the spotlight on all current and future challenges facing tourism and explored practical solutions for the benefit of workers and investors alike.”     

Recently, SCTDA launched a package of initiatives to support Sharjah’s tourism sector. The Authority has primarily focused on expanding its partnerships with stakeholders from the government and private sectors, including local and international entities, to ensure a safe tourism experience, enhance trust between destinations and visitors, and guarantee adherence to the best international standards and practices to maintain the health and safety of visitors, citizens and residents. Sharjah continues to promote the attractiveness and competitiveness of its tourism sector, highlighting the industry’s exceptional advantages and numerous cultural, heritage and historic attractions and features.      


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (29th October 2018) – From 28th October to 24th November, Atlantis, The Palm will join the Dubai Fitness Challenge to get people from all walks of life to commit to a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes of daily activity for 30 days. Each day the resort welcomes residents to take part… Continue Reading →

The right dose of chocolate for your soul

It was one of those boring weekdays, where excitement and gratification seems to be a far-fetched dream and to add some sugariness to this day, I set out to visit The Choco Monarch, in Deira, and this idea proved to be a fulfilling and gratifying sweet adventure, especially after indulging in their Crepe Fettuccine, which… Continue Reading →


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (29th October 2018) – From 28th October to 24th November, Atlantis, The Palm will join the Dubai Fitness Challenge to get people from all walks of life to commit to a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes of daily activity for 30 days. Each day the resort welcomes residents to take part in underwater yoga, Padelo Paddle Boat sessions and tennis lessons all for FREE.

ATP Picture

Every Sunday from 6:00am-7:00am, residents can rejuvenate and restore in a unique aquatic surrounding in a complimentary underwater Hatha Yoga class in The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Suitable for yogi’s ages 16 years and above, the class will aim to deliver a completely unique experience for beginners, intermediate and advanced yoga practitioners, set against the mesmerising tranquillity of the Ambassador Lagoon, the biggest aquarium in the Middle East and Africa, home to 65,000 marine animals.

Every Friday and Saturday from 9:00am-10:00am, residents can enjoy complimentary Pedalo sessions on the Atlantis Royal Beach, set to the backdrop of the stunning Dubai skyline and Palm Island.

Guests can also enjoy complimentary tennis lessons every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30am-11:15am at the Elite Tennis Courts at Atlantis, The Palm. Led by a team of certified coaches and tennis players, the lessons will provide world-class coaching for players of all ages and levels. State-of-the-art facilities include the latest court surfaces, plus video technology for technique analysis.

Atlantis, The Palm joins the Dubai Fitness Challenge in encouraging one million Dubai residents to make fitness not only a priority but a lifestyle. A flagship fitness initiative by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, more than 3,000 fitness sessions and classes have been scheduled along with more than 40 fitness events including Dubai International Triathlon, The Color Run and Yogafest.


The right dose of chocolate for your soul

It was one of those boring weekdays, where excitement and gratification seems to be a far-fetched dream and to add some sugariness to this day, I set out to visit The Choco Monarch, in Deira, and this idea proved to be a fulfilling and gratifying sweet adventure, especially after indulging in their Crepe Fettuccine, which takes you on a journey of an authentic French crepe with an Italian touch and droplets of russet rain from the top being poured all over the crepe is a beautiful sight to watch and an amazing treat for everyone.



Not only Crepe Fettuccine, but one has to also try their exotic flavoured French toast dipped with caramel sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream, this again is a great and unique combination, which can be a delicious final course as well as a scrumptious meal.



So if you want a cosy chocolaty feeling and satisfy all your sweet tooth cravings along with a friendly ambience then head to the Choco Monarch, which is located in Al Ghurair Centre, Al Rigga, and Deira

<a href=”https://www.zomato.com/dubai/the-choco-monarch-al-rigga&#8221; title=”View Menu, Reviews, Photos & Information about The Choco Monarch, Al Rigga and other Restaurants in Dubai” target=”_blank” ><img alt=”The Choco Monarch Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info – Zomato” src=”https://www.zomato.com/logo/18462295/biglink&#8221; style=”border:none;width:200px;height:146px;padding:0;” /></a>



UAE based coffee company launches first truly degradable coffee capsule


Loose Unicorns, the first speciality coffee subscription in the Middle East, continues to poke its horn into the coffee business and craft something different, yet to be discovered in the UAE: 100% compostable capsules that are compatible with any Nespresso(™) machine. In addition to having speciality coffee capsules, coffee snobs will be able to get their fix by going online and choosing how they want their beans and getting them delivered the next day, whole or ground.


For those who are still wondering what speciality coffee is all about, it’s time to take a quick glance. Coffee has been lifted to another level, much more complex than how it used to be. The speciality movement introduces high-quality coffee in the market, innovative ways of brewing and the spirit of crafted coffee. The process is simple by its nature, yet complex: it comes from a specific place, it is grown at a certain altitude, where harvesting and processing are done manually and with thoughtfulness by farmers.


Good coffee comes from people who care, therefore Loose Unicorns has a dedicated team, who understands that, in order to transmute a regular morning cup into an experience, there are a few steps that cannot be skipped: to work as close as possible with farmers and direct trade coffee, to find the right roastery which is able to perceive the quality of the beans and tailor the profiles for each batch to perfection and to look after new, efficient and convenient methods to brew delicious coffee. All for a single reason: to get the best in a cup, whilst being conscious of the environmental impact.

This new range of speciality coffee capsules is the new wave in the market, where coffee junkies can enjoy a nice cup of life elixir without being bothered with measuring water temperatures, grinding beans or weighing precise doses. Pretty much like being a unicorn in a field of horses, those who wish they could mainline a shot of happiness directly into the veins must know that this generation of capsules is also aluminium, PVDC, OGM, BPA free and 100% biodegradable that turn into pixie dust in just twelve weeks.



Back due to popular demand, guests will enjoy an evening of moonlit fun at the
award-winning waterpark



DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (5th  June 2018) – Following the successful launch in April of ‘Aquaventure After Dark’, Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm is delighted to announce that it will once again open its doors to excited nighttime revellers. Attracting 3,500 teens and adults first time around, the ultimate slide and dance party will make its triumphant return on June 16th from 8pm, offering guests even more fun, as we crank up the lights and music at the UAE’s No.1 rated waterpark.

In partnership with Coca-Cola® and 104.8 Channel 4 radio, Aquaventure After Dark entry tickets will start from only AED 123 when pre-purchased online, offering party-goers a fun-drenched evening from 8pm to 12am midnight. Featuring pumping music zones and stacks of inflatable fun, Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark will offer visitors the chance to take on 20 of the region’s craziest waterslides, made all the more exhilarating by night.

104.8 Channel 4 radio presenters will be hosting competitions throughout the evening including ‘The Leap of Faith’s Loudest Scream’ where contestants can get the chance to win over AED 50,000 worth of prizes.

Hungry thrill-seekers can also feast throughout the evening at the various food stations. Shark Bites and Barracudas will offer indoor and outdoor seating and something for every taste, including Arabic mezze, freshly baked pizzas, shawarma, falafel, dosa, fish & chips and barbeque hot off the grill.

Situated on the apex of the Palm in Dubai, and known for its terrifying and record-breaking waterslides, Aquaventure Waterpark is the only attraction in The Middle East that offers marine animal experiences, water slides and over 700 metres of beachline. The waterpark also boasts some record-breaking slides including the world’s largest circumference water ride ‘Aquaconda’ and the first twin racing tube rides ‘Slitherine’.

To save 25% on admission, guests can purchase an early bird ticket for only AED 123 by calling +971 4 426 2000 or by visiting www.aquaventurewaterpark.com. Tickets on the day at the gate will be AED 165.

if you like to place an ad on this blog or want some PR copywriting for your hotels, or blog articles and social media marketing, please contact Anitha Lakshminarayanan at 050-1845628 or 050-4627856

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