Smile, you’re in Sharjah!
Sharjah’s got something of a bad rep, and the rumors of Mubarak landing in the Emirate don’t help. But as far as business is concerned, things are looking up, thinks Eva Fernandes.
February 13, 2011 4:00 by Eva Fernandes
Exhibit two in my defence of my birthplace: Dubai Media City may have historically been the shining beacon of developed media in the region (with Abu Dhabi closely catching up, what with the setting up of twofour54 and all), but recent developments in Sharjah may make it third in the line, and young up and comer. This weekend saw the official launch of the Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC), which was set up with a capital of Dh100 million. As such, the newly launched corporation will be the is the parent company of Sharjah TV, Sharjah Sports Channel, Sharjah22 Channel, Sharjah Radio, Sharjah Media Center and Sharjah Media Training Center. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of SMC is quoted i Emiratesn 24|7 as saying: “The launching of Sharjah Media Corporation is a huge achievement which required a lot of work, planning and efforts.” Good luck to them.
And one more example of why you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the Emirate: the fact that Sharjah will soon play host to one of the leading international Hotel chains. This weekend, Hilton Worldwide announced that it had signed an agreement with Bin Otaiba Investment Group for a Hilton Hotels & Resorts property in Sharjah. The first ever Hilton in the emirate will open late 2011 and will have five boardrooms, one ballroom with a capacity for 400, a business centre, a health club and two pools. Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide told Gulf News: “Sharjah is unique in character and a buoyant new market for tourism in the UAE. It offers leisure travellers the opportunity to sample authentic Emirati culture as well as cultural havens such as its many museums and souqs. The emirate’s proximity to Dubai makes it an attractive business tourism destination.” Yeah okay, so it’s just one hotel, and they had to throw in the Dubai reference, but this is still a step in the right direction.
So there you have it, three good reasons why Sharjah is perhaps escaping the shadow (we just can’t let the light-imagery go) of its older emirates at last. Perhaps it’s time to resurrect the emirate’s golden slogan of the 1980′s: “Smile, you’re in Sharjah!”
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