Lite Blogs Sharjah

Central Souq: A Heritage Gem and Hub for Gold Jewellery in Sharjah

The Central Souq includes around 600 shops, making it a unique masterpiece in the Middle East and an expression of the heritage and status of the Emirate of Sharjah…reports Asian Lite News

Data from the Department of Economic Development in Sharjah shows that the total number of commercial licenses issued to traders in gold, precious stones and pearls reached 727, while the growth rate of registered memberships in the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry grew 138% during the last ten years.

There are a number of gold and jewellery stores in major shopping malls and outlets in Sharjah. Then there are markets dedicated for the yellow metal, including the Gold Center, which is home to many international gold stores, and the Rolla Gold Market, in addition to the market designated for trading in gold and jewellery in the Central Souq in Sharjah.

GG & Sons Jewellery remains a witness to the beginnings of the gold trade in Sharjah when its founder came from India in 1965 to open the first gold shop in one of the alleys of the Central Souq also known as the Blue Souq in Sharjah, 13 years before its opening.

According to the store manager, Joman Shahmadar, thanks to the multiple advantages enjoyed by the gold trade in the emirate, GG & Sons has expanded its branches within the wing designated for yellow metal trade in the Central Souq, taking the number to four out of six branches nationwide.

Sharjah Central Souq, a unique masterpiece

Celebrating the past and shimmering in the brilliance of yellow metal, the Central Souq in Sharjah, also known as the Blue Souq, stands out as one of the most popular tourist and commercial destinations dedicated to gold jewellery due to its historical status and the distinctiveness of its diverse outlets that meet all tastes and needs, attracting shoppers and tourists of all nationalities.

The Central Souq in Sharjah, whose image is printed on the five-dirham currency of the United Arab Emirates, constitutes a unique landmark among the numerous landmarks of the Emirate. Opened in 1978, it embodies an architectural masterpiece with its geometric design in the form of a steam train decorated with Islamic inscriptions and coloured in picturesque blue. Its strategic location next to the serene waters of Khaled Lagoon adds to its charm.

The huge edifice consists of two main wings, long, parallel with eight balconies, and connected by two bridges connecting them. While one wing celebrates the yellow metal, the other wing, overlooking one of the main roads of the emirate, has been dedicated to trading in carpets, antiques, fabrics and much more.

The Central Souq includes around 600 shops, making it a unique masterpiece in the Middle East and an expression of the heritage and status of the Emirate of Sharjah.

The market is a tourist, cultural and leisure destination for many individuals and families who get to experience the cultures of the world through its fabulous jewellery and the best of both traditional and modern designs and patterns.

Gold remains precious

At a time when the global gold trade has been witnessing a fluctuation of prices, the Sharjah Gold Market continues to attract shoppers and visitors with its remarkable attractiveness to remain vibrant and interactive.

While data from the World Gold Council during the past months of this year showed a decline in demand for gold jewellery in some global markets, gold merchants in Sharjah report a continuing demand even as its price continues to climb, with increased purchases during special occasions and holidays.

Yemeni trader Ahmed Salah says that the Sharjah Central Souq, has remained a model of adaptation and innovation in the face of economic challenges, underscoring its position as a leading destination for shopping and excellence in the world of jewellery.

Salah adds that visitors come to the Central Souq from all over the world and it has regular customers from Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in addition to shoppers and tourists from all over the Emirates, because the Sharjah Central Souq, known simply as the ‘Gold Souq’ is distinguished by its reputation as the ultimate destination for gold and the best in jewellery as it offers a wide range of stores that display unique designs with high quality.

Trader Wael Al-Yafei, stresses that the demand for buying gold has not stopped in the market. Gold remains a sought-after commodity despite its high prices, as it is considered a safe haven for investments. Al-Yafei adds that the Sharjah Central Souq is known for the great diversity of the pieces on offer, catering to various tastes and budgets.

A jewel of heritage and trade

The Central Souq, topped with ornate arches, is overflowing with activity and life for a continuous influx of visitors who come from in and outside the Emirates for its precious offerings and luxurious gifts or to enjoy the atmosphere of the heritage market that exudes the scent of the past.

The souq is not just a place to sell gold and jewellery, but rather a jewel and symbol of heritage, trade, and tourism at the same time.

Irish visitor Elaine Cair says that she came to the market to buy gold jewellery for her mother, noting the special shopping experience that is unique to the Sharjah Central Souq, which combines heritage, luxury, and enjoying the beauty of luxury jewellery that suits all tastes.

Shopper Umm Ali comes from Oman to Sharjah to buy gold during holidays and various occasions. It’s her favorite place to shop because of its charm, quality and diversity of its offerings.

French tourist Nicolas Blandel, who is visiting with his family, said that the Sharjah Central Souq, with its unique design and charming stores, takes the visitor to another world. “I did not expect to find this great diversity of designs and jewellery…each store carries a unique story,” he added.

Egyptian visitor Doaa Ahmed finds that visiting the Central Souq is like visiting a shopping mall and tourist destination at the same time, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone who visits it.

Luxury and originality

While the displays of gold pieces and luxury jewellery are diverse in the Central Souq in Sharjah, many of the market’s merchants are keen to preserve the display of traditional women’s jewellery that Emirati women have worn since ancient times and passed on to the women of the present. Each piece of heritage jewellery conveys a story that expresses pride in cultural identity.

The “Al-Maria” necklace, made up of a long gold chain, is prominently displayed on the facades of many shops, decorated with small, “trembling” gold coins that symbolise wealth and social status.

The seller, Saleh, says that the demand for “Al-Maria” and “Al-Murtaza” remains, even though they are among the oldest Emirati jewellery that reflect Emirati traditions, as well as Al Kawashi.

The Emirati grandmother, Umm Abdullah, who visited the Central Souq with her daughter to buy some heritage pieces, points out that Emirati women are keen to acquire gold jewellery inspired by popular heritage, noting that despite changing times, Emirati women have maintained their traditions and prefer traditional gold pieces, which they consider to be precious collectibles due to their history and the beauty of their design.

Many heritage pieces also appear in the market, such as the “bowl” designated for the head, Al Kawashi, the “knacks,” and other exclusive heavy pieces such as the “belt,” which is worn around the waist and celebrates heritage.

The shops spread throughout the corridors of the Sharjah Central Souq take visitors on a journey through time and cultures. Every corner tells the story of the emirate and its rich heritage, as craftsmanship intertwines with heritage to form a unique shopping experience, that is full of stories and golden touches. (WAM)

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Culture Lite Blogs Sharjah

Sharjah’s Mleiha Exhibition Opens in Japan

Sheikha Bodour also emphasised that Mleiha, and its rich cultural heritage, are an integral part of Arab identity and that this exhibition will showcase the profound impact of Arab civilisation on the world, enhancing it as a source of inspiration for future generations…reports Asian Lite News

Under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the Sharjah Archaeology Authority (SAA) inaugurated the ‘Mleiha: An Arabian Kingdom on the Silk Road’ exhibition at the Miho Museum in Japan, which is being held from 6th July to 15th December 2024.

The exhibition is part of the SAA’s efforts to enhance global awareness of Sharjah’s and the UAE’s cultural and civilisational heritage and aims to shed light on the rich history and significant role of Mleiha as a crucial hub on the Silk Road.

The exhibition was inaugurated in the presence of Eisa Yousif, Director General of the Sharjah Archaeology Authority (SAA); Professor Isao Kumakura, Director of the Miho Museum; Yukiko Koyama, Head of the Miho Museum Office; Shehab Ahmed Al Fahim, UAE Ambassador to Japan; Dr. Mohammed bin Saeed Al Busaidi, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Japan; Hiroki Iwanaga, Mayor of Koka City; Marwan Ahmed Alnaqbi, the Deputy Chief of Mission, and a host of prominent and diplomatic figures in the fields of culture and archaeology. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi expressed Sharjah’s gratitude for this cultural cooperation with Japan and affirmed that the organisation of such events by the SAA strengthens international relations, helping to build cultural bridges between nations while documenting the historical ties that unite us.

Sheikha Bodour also emphasised that Mleiha, and its rich cultural heritage, are an integral part of Arab identity and that this exhibition will showcase the profound impact of Arab civilisation on the world, enhancing it as a source of inspiration for future generations.

Eisa Yousif explained that this exhibition is part of Sharjah’s comprehensive cultural strategy focussing on, investing in, and sustaining culture and knowledge while enhancing national identity by highlighting the cultural heritage of the UAE and the Emirate of Sharjah on the international stage and museums.

He added that the organisation of this global exhibition – part of a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing cultural and archaeological tourism in Sharjah and the UAE – confirms Mleiha’s role in the story of human history. He added that as one of the most significant historical sites in the Arabian Peninsula, Mleiha is a rich source of identity and national pride.

He praised the collaboration with the Miho Museum – a partnership which reflects the strength of cultural relations between the two countries and enhances Sharjah’s vision as a cultural hub that attracts those interested in cultural heritage from all over the world.

The exhibition includes descriptions of more than 160 artifacts, of which 40 pieces are considered national treasures, and 49 pieces representing important cultural properties. Additionally, it features some recent discoveries being displayed for the first time to the Japanese public, illustrating the various aspects of life in the Kingdom of Mleiha.

The exhibition provides a detailed analysis of Mleiha’s central role in global trade, particularly the Silk Road, which connected the East and the West. It demonstrates peaceful coexistence in the region, with the displayed artifacts serving as living testimonies to cultural and commercial exchange.

The exhibition covers several themes including Crossroads of the Orient: Origins of Arabian Culture, The Mleiha Period: Mleiha and Dibba Al-Hisn Sites, Blessings of Nature: Plants and Animals World, Daily Life, and Coinage, in addition to Trade, Cultural Exchange, World of Gods, Religious Beliefs, and Standards of Beauty. On the sidelines of the exhibition inauguration, representatives from the Sharjah Archaeology Authority also undertook a comprehensive tour of the Miho Museum which has exhibits including Ancient Art from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Japan – a collection of antiquities from some of the most famous museums in the world. Further, they also visited Misono, the headquarters of the Shinji Shumeikai, and the Shumei Natural Agriculture farming (traditional house), in addition to a visit to several UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), which combines three styles of Japanese architecture.

In 2022 the SAA and Miho Museum collaborated on an exhibition entitled ‘Connecting Civilisations: From Ancient Central Asia to East Asia’ as part of the Authority’s ongoing local and international archaeological exhibitions programme. The exhibition included a collection of rare archaeological discoveries, significantly including copper coins dating back to the early Silk Road period. These artefacts highlight the critical role of key regions in the Arabian Peninsula in establishing firm economic and cultural bridges, commercial activity and knowledge exchange between Asian peoples, the Arabian Peninsula, and Europe, in periods dating back to before the Common Era.

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Sharjah shines in global startup ecosystem rankings

GSER highlights strengths of Sharjah’s startup ecosystem in Cleantech, Digital & Creative Industries, as well as Edtech….reports Asian Lite News

Sharjah’s status as an entrepreneurial haven has been reaffirmed after the 2024 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) revealed the emirate being 4th in the GCC, and 7th in the MENA region’s startup ecosystem rankings.

The Startup Genome and Global Entrepreneurship Network standings, announced at London Tech Week, put Sharjah two spots higher than in 2023 due to the emirate’s growing influence and competitiveness in the international startup scene.

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sheraa, Sharjah’s flagship start-up incubator, said, ‘Ranking 4th in the GCC region and 7th in the MENA startup ecosystem shows that Sharjah’s strategic focus on entrepreneurialism is working — and it’s getting noticed. Our startup ecosystem is investor- and business-friendly, committed to nurturing innovation, and it’s a dynamic global hub where forward-thinking minds converge. We’re on the right track, and this step forward strengthens our resolve to empower entrepreneurs in Sharjah and drive sustainable economic development in the region and beyond.”

The report highlights the strengths of Sharjah’s startup ecosystem in specific sectors, including Cleantech, Digital & Creative Industries, as well as Edtech, which have shown a high density of talent, support resources, and startup activity.

Sharjah’s strong performance is further evidenced by its rankings in various categories including #5 in ‘Bang for Buck’, indicating the amount of runway tech startups acquire, on average, from a VC round; #6 in Funding, measuring innovation through early-stage funding and investor activity; and #7 in Market Reach, tracking global leading companies, local market reach, and global connectedness.

Sharjah also features in the Top 15 rankings for both the Knowledge and Performance categories. The Knowledge category assesses innovation through research and patent activity, while the Performance category evaluates the size and success of an ecosystem based on the tech startup value generated from exits and funding.

Sharjah’s success is attributed to factors such as the emirate’s strategic location, the incredible $1.5 billion annual investment in education, its six Free Zones and 33 industrial zones, as well as the Sharjah Investors Services Centre (SAEED), which helps investors and entrepreneurs set up their business in the emirate.

Commenting on the announcement, Sheraa’s Vice Chairperson, Najla Al Midfa said, “Sharjah’s rise to the 4th in the GCC and 7th best ecosystem in MENA reflects our unwavering commitment to harnessing the transformative power of entrepreneurship. By nurturing homegrown talent and ventures, and partnering with stakeholders across the ecosystem, we have cultivated a founder-focused environment where innovative early-stage ventures thrive with access to essential talent, capital, and markets. As we look ahead, we are excited to scale our impact by further enhancing our startup’s offerings and driving growth in key sectors such as sustainability, edtech, advanced manufacturing, and the creative industries.”

The GSER, a comprehensive analysis drawing data from over 4.5 million companies across 300+ entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems globally, provides a detailed evaluation of the top startup hubs worldwide and regionally. Sharjah’s rise to the 7th position, two places above their standings in 2023, underscores the emirate’s dedication to nurturing a competitive and progressive startup ecosystem, as well as Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre’s (Sheraa) contributions to this success.

Having completed an incredible 8-year journey, Sheraa’s ecosystem today boasts a thriving community of over 500 founders and over 18,000 entrepreneurial youth. Sheraa’s inclusive entrepreneurial journey, which offers talent and capability building, world-class mentoring, start-up incubation and wide-ranging market access, has empowered over 180 startups who have an impressive 71 percent survival rate and have created over 1,900 jobs. These Sheraa-supported start-ups have raised over $171MM in capital and generated $248MM in revenue.

Moreover, Sheraa’s flagship event, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF), is one of the region’s leading celebrations of entrepreneurial passion and ingenuity and has drawn 30,000+ global attendees since 2017.

In collating the data, Sheraa provided invaluable support, collaborating closely with Startup Genome to spotlight the emirate’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in the anticipated report. This strategic partnership proved to be instrumental in showcasing Sharjah’s strengths and positioning it on the global map as a premier destination for talent, startups, and investors alike.

With its impressive ranking, rapidly growing Ecosystem Value, and sectoral strengths, Sharjah has firmly established itself as a rising star in the MENA startup scene. This achievement sets the stage for continued success and innovation, as the emirate solidifies its reputation as a regional hub for entrepreneurial excellence, with Sheraa playing a noteworthy role in this trajectory.

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Don’t fear AI, learn to use it well, says expert

In the session moderated by Dr. Mania Suwaid, Al Rawi drew an inspiring parallel with Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work during WWII involved breaking the Enigma cipher, to illustrate the groundbreaking impacts of AI…reports Asian Lite News

New-age technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can play a transformative role in education by delivering personalised learning experiences and improving student performance.

This was a resounding message at the panel discussion titled ‘Enhancing Private Education: Using Artificial Intelligence in Personalised Learning,’ held at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) on Friday.

“Artificial intelligence will not overshadow traditional centres of education like schools and universities. Instead, the technology will complement educators and help them deliver more impactful learning experiences,” said prominent AI researcher and trainer Yasmine Al Rawi.

In the session moderated by Dr. Mania Suwaid, Al Rawi drew an inspiring parallel with Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work during WWII involved breaking the Enigma cipher, to illustrate the groundbreaking impacts of AI.

“Schools are not just for academic training but are arenas for developing soft skills and creativity. Our educational institutions should embed futuristic technologies in their everyday work to improve efficiencies. A teacher in a class of 30 may not be able to give equal attention to all students, but if we have AI-aided applications that can monitor students’ emotional responses while doing assignments and provide real-time assessment, it could be a game changer”, she opined.

“This kind of technology could enable educators to better understand students’ struggles or ease with assignments, enhancing their ability to offer support even without direct supervision,” Al Rawi further noted.

Discussing the need for responsible integration of AI in educational settings, Al Rawi pointed out the critical role of parents and teachers in instilling values in children. She likened AI’s introduction to past technological advances, such as television and the internet, and said, “The focus should be on guiding children to use these tools responsibly and ethically.”

Al Rawi also mentioned Futurepedia, a platform showcasing the latest AI tools from picture-to-text and text-to-video conversions to natural language processing, which can assist teachers in creating innovative lesson plans for grades 1 through 12. Furthermore, she noted the existence of innovation hubs such as the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) in Sharjah, which support the development of new ideas and startups, including potential startups in sectors like fintech.

The UAE’s broader integration of AI, from smart policing initiatives by the Ministry of Interior to general government operations, illustrates the national commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology. “AI is vital not only in the education sector but also in safeguarding society,” she concluded.

The 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is running in Expo Centre Sharjah until May 12 and features a host of activities and talks that promise to engage and entertain kids and grown-ups alike. The latest edition has a strong lineup of authors and experts from varied industries. (ANI/WAM)

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UAE gears up to tackle more rains

There is a chance of scattered light to moderate showers over some northern and eastern areas at night and into Tuesday morning…reports Asian Lite News

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) has released the weather forecast for the upcoming week, spanning Monday, April 22nd to Friday, April 26th, predicting light-to-moderate rains over some regions of the country.

There is a chance of scattered light to moderate showers over some northern and eastern areas at night and into Tuesday morning, and a rise in temperatures is expected.

 On Tuesday, the potential for rain increases, with light to moderate showers expected, particularly over the eastern areas.

On Wednesday, NCM predicts partly cloudy skies with a slight possibility of light rain over the far northeastern parts of the country around noon. This day may also see a drop in temperatures.

On Thursday, partly cloudy conditions are expected, transitioning to cloudy skies at times in the afternoon across the far northern and eastern regions. There is a chance of light rain in these areas as well.

On Friday, the forecast suggests the formation of convective clouds towards the east, with a possibility of rainfall over the mountains during the afternoon.

The National Centre of Meteorology said it’s closely monitoring the weather situation and will provide further updates as needed, advising people to stay tuned for any potential changes in the forecast.

Containing future weather events

Hassan Al Mansoori, Undersecretary for Infrastructure and Transport Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI), highlighted that the UAE has proved highly effective in dealing with the consequences of the extreme weather conditions that it experienced last week.

He further noted that the proactive and swift response of various concerned entities has contributed to protecting people’s lives and properties and expediting recovery time, as service facilities, such as roads, bridges, and dams, went back to operation in record time.

Al Mansoori added that following President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s order to study the condition of infrastructure throughout the country to better understand the damages and improve future responses, MoEI joined forces with its partners to form an on-ground force that immediately started to review and assess the damages caused by the intense rainfall.

“The workforce will prepare a complete study on the need to expand dams and waterways so they are ready for and can contain future extreme weather events. Moreover, it will prepare an integrated operational plan to repair the damage caused to federal roads and take proactive measures to ensure the continuity of the roads’ rainwater drainage network. In addition, MoEI is about to follow a proactive plan to maintain water pump stations on federal roads to ensure their preparedness,” he continued.

The Ministry, he said, has put in place integrated plans and schemes for immediate and swift response to emergencies to ensure the safety of people and protect properties and infrastructure.

Free destruction certificates

Brigadier Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, has announced that vehicle destruction certificates are now available at no cost for all individuals affected by weather-related damage in Sharjah. These certificates can be obtained through the official channels of Sharjah Police.

Al Shamsi highlighted the availability of destruction certificates for cars damaged by weather through the “Sharjah Police Smart App” and their website, aiming to support efforts and ease burdens during these exceptional circumstances.

He emphasised that field teams, in collaboration with all the concerned parties, are working to ensure residential stability and provide extensive assistance to affected families to bring back normalcy in all cities of the Emirate of Sharjah.

Sharjah extends online learning

The local Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Team in Sharjah has decided to extend the distance learning system for private schools in the emirate tomorrow, Monday, 22nd April, to ensure the readiness of schools and surrounding areas to receive students and teaching staff after the recent weather conditions that the country experienced.

The decision comes in order to maintain public safety and the state of alert and readiness to tackle the effects of the weather situation and continuing measures to maintain public safety.

Climate change

Several climate change and weather experts have affirmed that the intense and unprecedented rainfall experienced in the UAE on 16th April is indicative of the severe and exceptional climate shifts occurring globally due to the rise in record carbon emissions, emphasising that this extreme rainfall event cannot be scientifically attributed to artificial cloud seeding.

On 16th April, the UAE experienced the most substantial rainfall in its modern history across numerous regions, marking the largest volume since climate data recording began in 1949.

In this regard, Dr. Diana Francis, Senior Research Scientist, and Head of the Environmental and Geophysical Sciences (ENGEOS) Lab at Khalifa University, said in statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) that the extreme weather conditions that the UAE has witnessed in mid-April 2024 are exceptional in terms of severity and widespread impacts. “The amount of rain that fell on the 16th is unprecedented and is equivalent to the amount of rain the UAE receives in 2 years or the amount London receives in 7 months on average.”

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Sharjah explores trade, investment ties with India

The IBPC-SCCI meeting highlighted facilitative measures and investment opportunities for Indian firms in Sharjah, emphasising the crucial role of periodic gatherings for communication between stakeholders.

The Indian Business and Professional Council, affiliated with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), has conducted an extensive business meeting to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation and boost bilateral trade volume and mutual investments between the business communities of Sharjah and India.

Discussions delved into prospects for enhancing coordination between the two business communities and exploring investment opportunities across diverse strategic economic sectors.

The meeting also focused on bolstering the exchange of information regarding investment prospects and building sustainable partnerships to fuel growth in trade exchanges and joint investments, leveraging the comprehensive economic partnership between the UAE and India.

Held during the Ramadan suhoor banquet at Sharjah’s Jazerat-al-alam, the meeting was attended by Dr. Khaled Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams), and Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), as well as Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, and Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Business Sector at SCCI.

Also present were Satish Kumar Sivan, Consul General of India in Dubai and the Northern Emirates; Jamal Saeed Buzangal, Director of the Media Department at SCCI; Lalu Samuel, Chairman of the Indian Business and Professional Council, along with members of the Indian Business Council, business community representatives, and heads of major Indian companies operating in Sharjah.

The meeting underscored the facilitative measures and investment prospects extended to Indian companies within the emirate, emphasizing the pivotal role of periodic gatherings in bridging communication between investors, corporate heads, and business leaders from both Sharjah and India.

Moreover, the discussions highlighted the level of investment cooperation and the diverse opportunities available for Indian companies operating in Sharjah, particularly within strategic sectors such as energy, maritime industries, shipping services, and ship agencies. The meeting also delineated opportunities available for Indian companies specializing in commerce, food industries, tourism, real estate, and contracting.

Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi emphasised that the Indian Business Council’s meeting, which brought together all those concerned with consolidating ties between Sharjah and Indian business communities, stands as an essential component of the endeavours made by the Sharjah Chamber and its associated business councils to boost business relations between the two communities.

Stressing its pivotal role in catering to the needs of member companies affiliated with the Indian Business and Professional Council, Al Shamsi added that the meeting aligns with broader efforts to enhance economic and commercial cooperation with India.

He pointed out that such gatherings provide fruitful opportunities for fostering new business partnerships between Indian and Emirati companies, which in turn serve as a fundamental pillar for fortifying bilateral trade and mutual investment.

For his part, Lalu Samuel noted that the Indian Business Council’s meeting aimed at bringing together leaders of Indian companies investing in Sharjah with their counterparts in the emirate, along with relevant entities, to develop cooperative relations and explore further opportunities to achieve the council’s objectives.

Underscoring the importance of fostering communication bridges between Indian companies and economic prospects in Sharjah, Samuel clarified that this initiative seeks to cement sustainable collaborative ties and create avenues for acquainting with efforts supporting investors, and thereby elevating economic activities in the emirate.

An estimated 17,500 Indian companies are currently operating in the Emirate of Sharjah, according to SCCI’s members. The Sharjah Chamber inaugurated the Indian Business and Professional Council in February 2023.

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SCC calls for introducing Sharjah’s attractions

The council also suggested developing marine tourism in collaboration with the emirate’s ports and competent authorities…reports Asian Lite News

The Sharjah Consultative Council (SCC) has recommended that the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority continue integrating with relevant parties and developing the tourism sector while taking advantage of available growth opportunities.

The council also suggested developing marine tourism in collaboration with the emirate’s ports and competent authorities.

During its seventh session, chaired by Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, the council called for a quick study of the need for hotels, particularly in the Eastern Region, to accommodate the increasing demand from tourists and conference organisers. It also recommended the preparation of legislation regulating the use of closed hotels and abandoned facilities.

The council emphasised the importance of completing the development of the tourism sector and providing top-notch services to visitors and tourists in line with Sharjah’s renaissance. It also stressed the need to establish appropriate mechanisms to serve this vital sector and highlight Sharjah’s tourist attractions.

At the start of the session, the council approved the minutes of the previous meeting and discussed the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority’s policy. The committee recommended enhancing the authority’s role in developing the tourism sector.

The council approved the recommendations, which emphasised the importance of providing the tourism sector with prosperity and qualifying it to face challenges and rapid developments. The authority was granted permission to permit tourist activity in rest houses and camps under specific requirements, controls, and standards.

The council also stressed the need for coordination with tourism companies and the employment of national qualifications and expertise in the tourism field.

The council thanked the committee for preparing the project, the Economic, Industrial, and Financial Affairs Committee of the Council, the applicants, and everyone who contributed and shared their observations and opinions, including the General Secretariat employees, for their efforts and fruitful cooperation in enriching the debate.

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Sharjah Ruler receives Ramadan well-wishers

Those who came to extend the Ramadan greetings included sheikhs; senior officials; dignitaries of the country; and UAE citizens who prayed to Allah Almighty to revisit the fasting month with more goodness, progress, security, safety and prosperity for the UAE and its people…reports Asian Lite News

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, today received at Al Badee’ Palace, Ramadan well-wishers, on the first day of the holy month.

Those who came to extend the Ramadan greetings included sheikhs; senior officials; dignitaries of the country; and UAE citizens who prayed to Allah Almighty to revisit the fasting month with more goodness, progress, security, safety and prosperity for the UAE and its people.

The reception was attended by H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; and several officials from the emirate.

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SCCI Announces 34th Edition of Sharjah Ramadan Festival

Al Owais stressed that the festival will invigorate the tourism sector, thereby bolstering the broader business community…reports Asian Lite News

The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) is set to launch the 34th edition of the Sharjah Ramadan Festival 2024 from 8th March to 13th April. The 37-day event will cover all cities and regions across the emirate. The festival’s organising committee disclosed that preparations for the launch involved meetings with numerous government and private institutions and agencies to foster coordination and collaboration to ensure the event’s success. Key shopping centres, destinations, and retail stores across the emirate will take part in the event, offering a series of marketing, entertainment, and heritage activities that celebrate the holy month.

The 2024 season’s festivities will extend to the cities and suburbs of the central and eastern regions, providing a wide range of products at substantial discounts. The festival will be further enhanced by exciting draws, competitions, and valuable prizes for attendees, along with a variety of recreational activities that celebrate the unique spirit of Ramadan. Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of the SCCI, emphasised that the Sharjah Ramadan Festival has become a vital catalyst for stimulating the emirate’s economic landscape, particularly the retail sector, a cornerstone of the emirate’s economic activity.

Al Owais stressed that the festival will invigorate the tourism sector, thereby bolstering the broader business community. He highlighted the event’s social significance, pointing out how its entertainment and heritage events create a special ambiance for Ramadan, spreading joy among Sharjah’s residents and visitors, and fostering social and cultural engagement. For his part, Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General of the SCCI, said that the upcoming edition of the Sharjah Ramadan Festival has been meticulously planned to engage major shopping centres and retail outlets across the emirate to present competitive offers and enticing discounts to the public. Aligning with this initiative, the Ramadan Nights exhibition at Expo Centre Sharjah is set to launch, aiming to broaden the community’s access to a diverse range of products and merchandise at competitive prices throughout the holy month, enhancing the festive shopping experience.

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Sharjah Tourism to Shine at ITB Berlin

Sharjah to highlight best of its adventure, cultural riches, natural beauty at ITB Berlin 2024…reports Asian Lite News

The Emirate of Sharjah is gearing up for its participation in the ITB Berlin – the world’s leading travel trade show, slated for March 5-7, 2024. Themed ‘Pioneer the Transition in Travel & Tourism. Together’, the Sharjah Pavilion will host an impressive roster of 19 entities, consisting of government and private sectors, spearheaded by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). Participants, representing a broad tourism and hospitality industry spectrum, including cultural and entertainment sectors, will showcase the emirate’s multifaceted tourism experiences that have positioned Sharjah as a prime global destination.

The emirate’s participation underscores its mission to foster international tourism partnerships to draw a greater influx of visitors and investors, with a keen eye on the European market.

Commenting on the upcoming participation, Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “In an era where the tourism industry witnesses unprecedented dynamism, we must embrace change, pursue innovation, and spearhead development vigorously. Our ambition is to not only match the pace of global advancements in hospitality, transportation, and leisure but also to set benchmarks in enriching cultural, heritage, and natural explorations. Our presence at ITB Berlin this year will showcase Sharjah’s leading projects, both existing and in the pipeline, and to vividly present our emirate’s distinguished attributes, exemplary services, and unique tourism offerings.”

Al Midfa added: “Our participation in this year’s ITB Berlin effectively contributes to supporting our plans and efforts in line with the vision and directives of H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, of enhancing the emirate’s position on the global tourism map.”

“ITB Berlin is an important platform to promote the emirate as a premier global tourism destination. It opens avenues for international collaborations with key stakeholders, investors, and global entities in the tourism and travel industry. The European market, with Germany at its core, remains instrumental for Sharjah, marking it as our second-largest European tourism source next to the United Kingdom. Engaging in this edition is a strategic move to bolster our initiatives and collaborative efforts to elevate the tourism landscape and drive a substantial increase in visitor numbers to our emirate,” continued Al Midfa.

Sharjah is set to captivate visitors from Europe and globally at the ITB Berlin, showcasing a spectrum of seamless and integrated tourist experiences that span various sectors—from infrastructure and transportation, highlighted by Sharjah International Airport Authority, Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA) and Air Arabia’s exemplary air transport services, to environmental wonders presented by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) with gems like the Sharjah Safari. Meanwhile, the Sharjah Marine Club will highlight various marine sports and activities in the emirate.

In heritage, culture, and leisure, Sharjah’s rich tapestry is unfurled by the Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIOH), and Sharjah Classic Cars Club, each narrating the emirate’s storied past and vibrant cultural landscape. The tourism and hospitality sector shines with the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) showcase of its portfolio, including a suite of exclusive staycations and resorts part of the Sharjah Collection, namely Al Faya Retreat, Al Badayer Retreat, Moon Retreat, Kingfisher Retreat, Nomad, Najd Al Meqsar Village and others.

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