HH Sheikh Sultan inaugurates phase 1 of Kalba eco-tourism project

TD Guest Writer

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His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, member of the Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah released gazelles of the endangered species known as ‘Damani’ in the Al Hafiya natural reserve in Kalba. The gazelles release marked the inauguration of the first phase of the ‘Kalba Eco-tourism Project’ undertaken by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in collaboration with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in Sharjah and the International Conservation Services.

The launch ceremony was attended by HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, HE Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), and Abdullah Saif Al Yamahi, chairman of Kalba Municipal Council.

Al Sarkal said: “The implementation of the Kalba eco-tourism project comes in line with Shurooq’s social responsibility efforts and its strong belief in the preservation of environmental heritage, which will have great impact in the future.”

The project will be implemented in three phases, the first of which will see the redevelopment of natural reserves in Kalba (Hafiya and Al Qurm natural reserves) in cooperation with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) release of rare animals and birds and the establishment of a centre within the reserve for visitors, as well as the restoration of archaeological sites within the project. Work on phase 1 is also already underway.

The second phase of the project will involve the development of Kalba Creek and the construction of a commercial complex featuring shops and restaurants overlooking the creek. It will also comprise the development of a number of islands in the creek, as well as rehabilitation to revive their natural marine and bird life.

Phase three has been designated for the tourism part of the project, which will see the setting up of a number of hotels and chalets with more than 300 rooms overlooking the Gulf of Oman and built in line with eco-friendly standards.

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