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Sharjah Museums Department Organizes Symposium On ’Museums And Tourism’

As part of its celebration of International Museum Day, Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) organized a special symposium on “Museums and Tourism” at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. Sponsored by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, the symposium aimed at strengthening debate on tourism, heritage and culture with a particular focus on museums.

The list of speakers in the symposium included museum & tourism professionals from the public and private sectors including Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Ajman Museum, Fujairah Museum, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Zayed University, Embrace Arabia, Napier University and Arabian Adventures.

The International Museum Day is an initiative by the International Council of Museums, a non-governmental organisation with formal relations with UNESCO. Since the celebration of the International Museum Day for the first time in 1977, the Council has been selecting various relevant themes for each year’s celebration and this year, the theme is ‘Museums and Tourism.’

The topics tackled included; ‘Sharjah’s tourism development strategy and the role of cultural tourism’, ‘The role of tourism at Ajman Museum’, ‘Museums as retainers of the nation’s collective memory’, ‘Dubai’s museums and tourism’, ‘Attracting national talent to non traditional careers – focus on guiding’, ‘Facing the future: educating Nationals for leadership in tourism’, ‘The i2 factor in the 21st century museums’, ‘The use of festival and event tourism to promote museums, culture and heritage’ and ‘the UAE museums: challenges, benefits & opportunities for locally based tour companies’.

In her opening remarks, Manal Ataya, Director General, SMD, said: “This year’s theme, ‘Museums and Tourism,’ has great contemporary relevance as it aligns with the goal of cultural organisations all over the world to promote sustainable cultural tourism. Sharjah Museums Department has been involved in strengthening ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism. Today’s celebration highlights the spirit of museums as ‘important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among people.’”

“Cultural tourism cannot exist in isolation. It is important to promote cross-cultural dialogue and museums can play a key role in achieving this. Our mission, therefore, is to ensure that tourism interacts respectfully with cultures around the world. This can be achieved by integrating museums with popular tourism. Sharjah has a rich diversity of museums, and Sharjah Museums Department is taking all efforts to highlight this richness of culture and heritage in our marketing initiatives,” added Ataya.

The primary function of a museum is to allow the public to "learn with pleasure,” explained Ataya. “By focusing on the theme of ‘Museums & Tourism’ museum professional and volunteers need to work together with tourism industry professionals and tourists, and create a bonding with the local community that can be long-lasting. We believe that tourism becomes successful when it also integrates the activities of the museums, as they are the flag-bearers of our culture and our society.”

The Sharjah Museums Department, established in 2006 by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, aims to promote the emirate’s rich legacy of arts, heritage and culture. For more information on the Sharjah Museums Department, please visit

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