Why Sharjah is one of the Middle East’s top eco-tourism spots

Published: 2 July 2020 - 8:15 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
In the latest issue of Hotelier Middle East, we touched on how hoteliers’ priorities shifted almost overnight. Where “sustainability” used to be the buzzword, it has now been dwarfed by “hygiene” – rightly so, of course.

However as hospitality establishments creep towards normality again, so too will the importance of sustainability and eco-tourism.

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has recently reaffirmed its range of sustainability initiatives in a bid to restart its eco-tourism business. Shurooq has been refining its offerings for years to both promote the emirate of Sharjah and boost sustainability across the hospitality sector.

Al Faya Retreat
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Falling within Shurooq’s Sharjah Collection is Al Faya Retreat, an environmentally-friendly desert retreat. The destination necessitates the use of glass bottles, tree planting initiatives and various recycling practices to boost sustainability. Across the road from the retreat, its café using locally-sourced products to create experiences for guests.

The Kingfisher Retreat
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Also in the portfolio, The Kingfisher Retreat has announced plans to open a turtle rehabilitation centre. It will tie up with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in the emirate and continuously work to preserve crucial nearby habitats.

In addition, it has further improved visitor experiences with a host of sustainable initiatives to minimise its impact on the ecosystem. Kingfisher Retreat is a car-free zone and bases its waste management plans on the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycling. An organic garden, bird water pond, turtle meeting point, nature walks, and beach cleaning activities are other eco highlights.

Al Badayer Retreat
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Completing the Sharjah Collection by is Al Badayer Retreat. The destination draws inspiration from Emirati desert living. The resort offers desert-camping and dune experiences through 21 service rooms, 10 tents and a range of leisure activities.

The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah
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Home to 53 rooms and suites, The Chedi Al Bait Sharjah, is built on the foundations of 19th century coral stone houses. The five-star hotel uses traditional Emirati architectural cues, featuring Arabic-style furniture and decorations.

Beyond its tribute to the vernacular architecture of the region, the hotel has rolled out a range of sustainability initiatives. For one, it has done away with plastic, opting instead for steel straws, glass bottles, biodegradable bin bags and metal room keys.

Moreover, it recycles all its glass, cardboard, and kitchen oil as part of a zero-waste policy, the hotel also turns all organic and non-organic food waste into compost. Motion sensors for lighting help avoid unnecessary use of energy and optimises air-conditioning depending on occupancy. There is also an electric car charging station both for in-house guests and other visitors.

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