- Why Sharjah?
Although less familiar to many event planners than high-profile emirates such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah is keen to become known as the region's cultural hub, and is investing in new developments to support the anticipated tourism interest. The emirate currently offers 8,700 hotel rooms, but is set to add 5,000 more by 2012. It also plans to expand its airport in the next two years. Its proximity to Dubai (12 miles) makes it an interesting post-event add-on, and an accessible destination in its own right.
- Getting there
There are currently no direct flights from the UK, so delegates can travel via Cairo with BMI/Egypt Air, or fly to Dubai and transfer by coach.
- Where to stay
For relaxation on a tight schedule, the 156-room Coral Beach Resort - Sharjah, is just 15 minutes from Sharjah or 45 minutes from Dubai's international airports. The beachside venue offers a range of restaurants, including Casa' Samak, where delegates can enjoy seafood and ocean views. It also offers two pools and a spa, while event space includes a ballroom with capacity for 400. The Centro Sharjah Airport is conveniently located by the rapidly expanding hub, and is set to open in September, offering 306 rooms and suites, two meeting spaces for up to 15 delegates, a gym and pool. For white-sand beach luxury, the five-star Radisson Blu Resort, Sharjah offers 300 rooms, including 20 pool-side cabanas, a spa and fitness centre, a range of restaurants and event space for up to 800. The hotel is located near the Sharjah Art Museum and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.
- Where to meet
For large events, Expo Centre Sharjah offers 128,000m2 of space for meetings, conventions and exhibitions. The 259-room Millennium Hotel Sharjah offers a range of event spaces, the largest of which has capacity for 500.
The 205-room Sharjah Rotana Hotel offers three meeting spaces, the largest of which has capacity for 100 delegates. It is located near to Sharjah National Exhibition Grounds (EXPO) and five miles from Dubai and Sharjah airports.
- Incentive ideas
For a taste of Sharjah's cultural offer, delegates should visit at least one of its 20 museums. ABC Tours offers a city tour of Sharjah and neighbouring emirate Ajman. Sights include the Sharjah Palace, Ajman's fort-turned-museum and the Corniche, where ancient wooden boats are still employed for fishing and to transport goods from neighbouring countries. Delegates can also visit the New Souk or the Blue Souk for gold, jewellery and carpet shopping, admire the adjacent Pearl Monument, the success symbol of the federation of the seven emirates. Beside the monument lies the King Faisal Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the UAE.
- Where to eat and drink
Delegates can enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine in a Far East-inspired setting at the Radisson Blu Resort's Canton Chinese Restaurant. The Al Qasba waterfront development offers a range of dining options in a relaxed setting. Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club offers the Sensi restaurant, promising authentic Italian cuisine including fresh seafood and a range of Italian cheeses.
For a traditional treat, visit the Sharjah Dhow restaurant, a ship that has been converted into a floating restaurant on the Khalid lake serving grilled meats and seafood. The restaurant has two spaces - one air-conditioned with capacity for 90 delegates and one with capacity for 100.
- Flight time is 7 hours (to Dubai)
- The time difference is GMT +4 hours.
- The official weekend is Friday and Saturday
- UK passport holders can obtain a free 30-day entry permit on arrival
- DMCs include ABC Tours
Government of Sharjah
Contact: Tariq Saeed Allay Al Naqbi
Tel: +971 65 56 67 77