Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Sharjah museums see surge in visitor numbers

As Covid-19 travel restrictions continue to have a strong impact on the global tourism industry, the domestic tourism sector in the UAE and Sharjah seems to have picked up with more UAE residents seeking destinations that are closer to home.
 
Following a three-month closure across the country and with people still reluctant to travel abroad for leisure due to the health scare, Sharjah's cultural venues have seen an increase in the number of visitors from inside the UAE, a Sharjah Museums Authority statement said. 
 
Thousands of residents and Emiratis have taken to museums under Sharjah Museums Authority since they reopened their doors end of last June. 
 
Between January and August, as many as 300,000 people have toured Sharjah museums, with the majority of those visiting them following the reopening.
 
But a surge in visitors’ numbers to SMA museums was strongly felt during Eid Al Adha holiday with individuals and families flocking from Abu Dhabi and neighbouring emirates. 
 
“One upside from the crisis is that it has expedited a digital transformation that made museums’ knowledge and collections accessible for all people from the comfort of their homes,” said Manal Ataya, Director General of SMA. 
 
Ataya noted how SMA has stepped up efforts during closures to keep its audience engaged by launching virtual tours, including A Century in Flux: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation Exhibition, "Museum Collection: Modern and Contemporary Arab Art" Exhibition, and Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh’s "Homebound: A Journey in Photography”, which was held in collaboration The Africa Institute in Sharjah. 
 
The authority also digitalised 100 Islamic collections as part of Museums With No Frontiers portal.
 
The authority has also rolled out a host of online workshops and lectures that target all family members and cover a wide array of topics, including history, calligraphy and science.
 
“Our online programs and virtual tours have attracted new audiences and encouraged those who have never been to our museums to come visit and enjoy a unique museum experience,” she said. 
 
She also stated that she was looking forward to early next year when she would hope to see more easing of restrictions and perhaps the UAE’s readiness to welcome back tourists from abroad. 
 
SMA implements a series of strict precautionary measures to ensure the safety of visitors and employees, including, operating at 50 per cent of its museums’ capacity. -TradeArabia News Service