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Qanat Al Qasba, the tourism attraction in Sharjah that has witnessed a Dh500 million renovation project, is set to undergo further expansion and will be renamed.
The Sharjah Government will develop the area into a tourist attraction and entertainment destination and has allotted a budget of Dh14m for new projects and another Dh33m for running costs this year, said Marwan Al Sarkal, CEO of the Al Qasba Development Authority.
Speaking at a press conference where Al Sarkal announced the avenue would be re-branded as Al Qasba, he said: “After finishing the tiling of the avenue, ornamenting the area with greenery and providing extra seats and more open restaurant areas, we are pleased to re-brand the identity of the area by focusing on community activities.”
According to official figures, the number of restaurant patrons in the area has increased from 25,000 in 2005 to 226,000 in 2007. And revenues have increased from Dh500,000 to Dh7.6m in the same period. Between 2006 and 2007, 18 restaurants on the avenue experienced a 99 per cent jump in sales, he said
“The increases are significant and the avenue has contributed significantly to the emirate’s economic growth. We plan to market the area as a tourist destination in co-ordination with the Sharjah Commerce and Tourist Development Department and tourism firms in the global markets,” said Al Sarkal.
Development of the avenue includes new facilities aimed at the business sector. “We have recently signed a contract for the construction of a Dh1.5m business centre,” said Ahmed Al Qaseer, business development manager.
The facility will offer conference halls and meeting rooms outfitted with technology to help serve businesspeople and government departments.
Other planned facilities include the construction of a 26-storey business building and a six-level car park to serve the increased demand for office space. And to provide smoother crossing between the two sides of the Canal, two new bridges worth Dh1m will be constructed.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy a new gym, health club and a permanent “edutainment” children’s area that will include games and entertainment facilities coupled with educational activities.
“We are also planning to turn Al Qasba into an integrated community centre,” Al Qaseer said.
Meanwhile, a re-branding package has been rolled out to introduce the target audience, visitors and families, to Al Qasba.
Hazem Sawaf, marketing manager of Al Qasba Development Authority, said: “The new identity expresses not only our ambitions but also fist well with the whole transformation of Al Qasba to a family and tourism attraction as we are gearing up currently for more development within the destination.
“The new brand identity reflects the experience of Al Qasba, which is exciting, rich, lively and unique in a way that refreshes the mind and soul and unites people in one place.
The brand is charismatic, enriching, energised, and indulgent,” he said.
A new calendar of events has been announced to coincide with the launch of the Al Qasba brand.
Some of this year’s highlights include: the Al Qasba Food Festival 2008, the Eye of Emirates third anniversary celebrations, Al Qasba Flowers Festival, Opera under the stars, Euro 2008, Al Qasba Summer Activities, Italian art (Artie Aitaliana), Sharjah Biennial – the art of Arabic calligraphy, Brazilian exhibition and Ramadaniat Al Qasba.
Dina Al Nakhi, events manager of the Al Qasba Development Authority, said: “It has always been our priority to provide visitors with all the facilities and services that will make their visit to Al Qasba an unforgettable one. Through our variety of world-class restaurants, cafés, the fun zone for children and our convenient location, we don’t see this is as a challenging task.”
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