Skift Take

Putting "ecotourism" in a big project in the desert nation makes it one, right? Right.

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, or Shurooq, on Tuesday unveiled plans for its latest project — Sir Bu Nuair Island — at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2013).

The first integrated tourism project within the islands in the Emirate of Sharjah, and one of the most important marine protected areas in the UAE, the project will be developed at a cost of half a billion Emirati Dirhams by the year 2017 with the aim of boosting Sharjah’s travel and leisure sector.

Addressing a Press conference in the presence of Chairperson of Shurooq Shaikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chief executive Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal said mega tourism project will include a luxury five-star hotel and resort, hotel apartments and villas, a camping village for those who love camping, retail shops, a souk, dedicated family areas, an amphitheatre, a museum, a mosque, an education centre, a harbour and an airport.

“Sharjah is witnessing impressive growth in its tourism sector, whether in terms of its numerous new tourism projects or the increasing number of visitors. Shurooq seeks to continuously boost and support this growth through the development of exceptional facilities and high quality services, so as to highlight Sharjah as a unique tourist destination for tourism investments in the region and the Middle East.”

He went on to add that the development of Sir Bu Nuair is in line with Shurooq’s strategy to create a large variety of truly unique destinations within Sharjah that will further differentiate the Emirate as a premier leisure destination in the UAE and the region.

In a presentation delivered during the press conference, Al Sarkal said Sir Bu Nuair Island is predominantly uninhabited. It is located 65km off the UAE coastline on the Arabian Gulf, and covers an area of about 13 square kms.

“The island is protected due to its significant environmental features, including geological formations, natural flora and marine birds, and is characterised by its unspoilt natural scenery. Our aim is to develop Sir Bu Nuair into a unique island destination; one that offers a mix of high-end luxury and comfort, one that fosters a genuine sense of community, and one that captures the region’s vibrancy and cultural heritage in its architecture and offerings.”

“Sir Bu Nuair Island is beautiful, healthy, rich and extensive in ecological diversity as well as heritage. We are extremely excited about this project and, as always, will be focused on delivering quality that will exceed both client and visitor expectations while maintaining environmental sustainability,” he added.

Highlighting the historical significance of Sir Bu Nuair Island, Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), said Sir Bu Nuair is one of the most important environmentally protected areas in Sharjah. “The island, also known as Sir Al Qawasim, is characterised by its natural scenery and beautiful beaches, have yielded archaeological finds of pottery items dating back to approximately 3,500 BC were found, with other recovered items dating back to 1,500 BC.” ___

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