HAILED AS A DESTINATION RICH WITH CULTURAL HERITAGE, A DISPLAY OF PROTECTED AREAS, UNIQUE NATURE AND RELAXATION OPTIONS, FUJAIRAH IS CONSIDERED A TOP CHOICE FOR TOURISTS SEEKING AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE LARGER EMIRATES.

Discussing Fujairah’s hospitality industry, Ashraf Helmy, general manager, Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort, explained, “The German and Russian markets have been, and still remain the main feeder markets.”

Furthermore, Ashraf Kamal, general manager, Fujairah Aviation Services & Tours, Fujairah, elaborated on the same matter, “The main feeder markets are Germany, Russia, the UK, and recently we had Polish charters, in addition to locals and expatriates who are living in the other emirates.”

He further highlighted that Fujairah’s target markets focus on mainly European clients but also UAE locals who search for a short escape during the holidays.

Meanwhile, Djaja Marie Pastor, sales and marketing coordinator, Novotel, Ibis & Adagio, Fujairah, explained, “UAE nationals make up our largest proportion of guests, visiting Fujairah during public holidays and weekends.”

Featuring authentic cultural experiences, Fujairah is not only unique, but boasts alternative offerings.

Kamal stressed, “Fujairah is rich with culture and heritage and has a totally different nature than other emirates, which depend more on the modern architecture, shopping malls and industrial areas.”

The appeal of Fujairah follows a different pattern, the natural and cultural sights of the emirate are what draws in most of the visitors.

Kamal listed cultural places, heritage village, protected areas, unique nature and the mix of Hajar mountains and the sea as some of the emirates top features.

Expanding this theme, Kamal noted, “Needless to say, the beaches of Fujairah located on the Indian ocean are the best for relaxation and enjoying the sun and the sea for those who are interested in diving, snorkeling and fishing; besides being one of the oldest emirates it is full of old mosques and fortresses that are very important to visit.”

As specialists explained, the cultural and natural attributes firmly place Fujairah on both the UAE and global tourism map.

“Fujairah has got it all and still the culture is part of the Fujairah personality,” mentioned Helmy.

Despite this, he added that the absence of organised tourist attractions is one of the factors affecting the industry, and continued to explain, “It is to be considered as a starting and growing market, still there is room for growth and amelioration.

To be able to reach what would be expected from a destination like Fujairah, the infrastructure still needs more work to be done, also there should be more attractions in the area and not just hotels.

Much more advertising is needed to attract the attention of the important tourism sources.”

Speaking in agreement Kamal noted, “I can say that the wonderful beaches and mountains can still be used in a better way to attract more tourism […].”

The main concern of the hospitality industry, and Fujairah’s tourism professionals in general, is the absence of promotional activities, as Pastor clarified, “Regrettably, Fujairah is not promoted with its cultural and natural wealth in mind, which is considerable.”

This stems not only from the tourism authorities, but also from the aviation industry and the rest of the country.

Kamal elaborated, “[…] Fujairah Airport has to start operating commercial and charter flights and of course market Fujairah in a better way, as a unique emirate, by inviting reporters and, Internet bloggers. More advertisement regarding the emirate is also widely recommended.”

Helmy added, “Information centres should be available in all the other emirates to promote visiting Fujairah.

[This is alongside] preparing the sites to be ready for visitors by adding the needed infrastructure as well as all the service needs.”

Pastor concluded, “There is definitely room for improvement, by promoting Fujairah and creating awareness of places of interest, which will help attract more tourists. But we should not stop there, in the future we would like to see the creation of a dedicated attraction for tourism.”