June 24, 2020
Sharjah to see a 50 % return to activities in Tourism and Hospitality sector
Return made possible through the comprehensive implementation of preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The Sharjah Government has announced the resumption of the second phase of its recovery efforts, activating different sectors and activities by 50 per cent in the emirate. The move is in line with the directives issued by the Sharjah Executive Council and its orders to implement preventive measures designed to help curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced the gradual return of activities within the emirate’s tourism and hospitality sector. The return, which follows the recent re-opening of beaches within hotels, spas and restaurants, will be implemented in stages and will not contradict with public safety measures already in place such as sterilization operations and precautionary standards. The SCTDA has shared that the current phase of recovery is focused on domestic tourism and how to attract UAE citizens and residents as the summer season commences. The move is expected to play a key role in bringing the local tourism sector back to life.
In line with the recovery efforts, the SCTDA has released a manual containing new operating guidelines for hotel establishments in the emirate. The new guidelines and procedures are classified into four sections–‘General Precautionary Operating Guidelines,’ ‘Property – Back of House,’ ‘Human Capabilities – Hotel Employee,’ and ‘Hotel Establishment Section.’ The measures have been created to help ensure the safety of hotel workers while also maintaining the health and wellbeing of UAE citizens, residents and visitors and enhancing the security of the community.
The recovery efforts have seen the re-opening of a number of the emirate’s tourist destinations, which includes Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Noor Island, Flag Island, the Heart of Sharjah, Mleiha Archaeological Centre and Khorfakkan beach. Sightseeing tour buses have also restarted operations, in addition to the re-opening of several luxury hospitality establishments such as the Al Faya Retreat in Mleiha, the Al Badayer Retreat, Al Rafraf Inn in Kalba and the Chedi Al Bait. These hotels have implemented preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including providing special training and instructions to staff on how to receive guests and visitors securely in the time of the pandemic.
The second stage of the return of tourism and economic activities in Sharjah has also led to the re-opening of key cultural attractions such as the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, the Sharjah Art Museum, the Sharjah Archaeology Museum and the Sharjah Aquarium. Five environmental centres–Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre, Wasit Wetland Centre, Al Dhaid Wildlife Centre, Al Buhais Geological Park, and Sharjah Desert Park have also reopened but will only operate at 50 per cent capacity.
The SCTDA further noted that several parks, art centres, commercial centres and shopping centres in the emirate are re-opening provided that they comply with the directives to implement and follow precautionary measures such as physical spacing rules and the wearing of face masks and gloves. Further phases of recovery will be implemented gradually and will involve the review and evaluation of proposals for a return to operations of tourist-based facilities.
Meanwhile, the Sharjah International Airport has finally reopened and the duty-free has restarted in accordance and compliance with set criteria and requirements issued by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said, “We are pleased to announce the decision to activate 50 per cent of the various sectors and activities in the emirate, which is aimed particularly at bringing life anew to the local tourism and hospitality segments, vital sectors that help support the national economy. Rest assured that we will continue to work in close cooperation with our partners in the public and private sector to overcome this pandemic and help bring things back to normal.”
Al Midfa further explained that the release of the new guidelines for hotel establishments in the emirate demonstrates the SCTDA’s commitment to lay the solid foundations needed in the resumption of tourist movement and hotel activity–falling in line with the global best practices on health, safety and security. He also pointed out the significant role played by the new guide in ensuring the stability of the hotel industry while also maintaining the health and well-being of employees and guests.
“The SCTDA will be designating special teams to conduct regular inspections and field visits to local hotels to check on their compliance with the set precautionary requirements. These measures have been implemented to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19. We encourage all employees, workers and tourists to cooperate with us by adhering to the directives in the newly issued operational guidelines, which guarantees safety for all. We should all continue to work closely together in the move to overcome this global health crisis and bring business back to normal at the soonest time possible,” concluded Al Midfa.