Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), in collaboration with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in Sharjah, has announced the launch of an eco-tourism project, which will be implemented in Kalba City in the Emirate of Sharjah.
The announcement was made by H.E. Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, during a press conference, which was held yesterday (Tuesday) on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM).
The project, the largest of its kind in the development eco-tourism facilities in the UAE and the region, will be set up in Khor Kalba, 15 km south of Fujairah city on the UAE-Oman borders.
In his speech during the conference, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Shurooq CEO, said, "The tourism industry has changed dramatically over the past few decades. The concept of tourism is no longer centred on taking an airplane to a new country to be familiarised with its landmarks, traditions and culture. Tourism has become one of the most important industries on which many countries around the world depend to achieve development.”
Al Sarkal stressed that the UAE has always sought to keep pace with the latest developments in this sector, and has always been in the forefront of the tourism industry with leading initiatives and new innovations that has allowed it to attract tourists from all over the world.
"Its strategic location overlooking the Arabian Gulf in the West and the Gulf of Oman, and its diverse natural and unique characteristics, including the beautiful mountains, plains and shores of its eastern region, among many other natural tourist elements, has made Sharjah one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the region," Al Sarkal said, adding that all these characteristics have qualified Sharjah to be home to exceptional tourism and investment projects.
The multiphase project will be implemented in three phases, the first of which will see the development of natural reserves in Kalba (Hafiya and Al Qurm nature reserves), and the establishment of a centre within the reserve for visitors, as well as the restoration of archaeological sites within the project.
The second phase of the project will involve the development of Kalba Creek and the construction of a commercial complex featuring shops and restaurants overlooking the creek. It will include the development of recreational spaces that will enable holidaymakers to enjoy the area’s natural biodiversity without causing harm of negatively affecting its wildlife.
Phase two of the project will also comprise the development of a number of islands in the creek, as well as rehabilitation to revive their natural marine and bird life.
Regarding the third phase, Al Sarkal stated, "Phase three has been designated for the tourism part of the project, which will see the setting up of a number of hotels and fantastically designed chalets overlooking the Gulf of Oman." He added that more than 300 rooms spanning hotels and chalets will be built in line with eco-friendly standards.
Al Sarkal remarked that the project would be completed within six years, with the phases of the project being delivered successively.
The project will include a dedicated art building, a centre for diving and marine hobbies, as well as offering trips to explore Khor Kalba and mangroves.