Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Medical Tourism in the Emirates

Emerging Industry
First we had ‘eco’ tourism. Then came ‘sustainable’ tourism. Now, in the latest of new, lifestyle-orientated travel packages, comes ‘medical’ tourism.

According to Dr. Prem Jagyasi, chief officer of the Medical Tourism Association in the UAE, the medical tourism industry is likely to be worth $60 billion in the next 10 to 15 years.

Quality Healthcare a Lure
The rapid improvement of the UAE’s healthcare infrastructure, often in partnership and gaining recognised accreditation from private US healthcare firms, means that the quality of services available throughout the Gulf might be an attractive lure for those seeking the world’s best healthcare.

Dr. Jagyasi says, "The country plays an important role in driving perception of destination ... the UAE has significant capabilities primarily because of the perception and ever growing real estate market [which it now enjoys]."

Medical Tourism Linked to Luxury Tourism
His words demonstrate that like other areas of tourism, ‘medical’ tourism is just as much about reputation, and taking the necessary steps to ensure the perception as a hotbed of tourism is vigorously applied. Allied with a booming property management and development market in UAE, those wealthy enough to be able to afford medical tourism may likewise be attracted to the glamorous lure of luxury Fujairah or Dubai properties being developed in the region.

Cuba, Singapore, Fujairah, UAE
Whilst places like Cuba and Singapore have already developed a significant and world-renowned healthcare tourism sector, the UAE is on the cusp of entering a new market which will undoubtedly further enhance the region’s reputation as a tourist hotbed. Other countries, such as Tunisia and Panama are also in a process of developing their medical tourism industry, but one of the key advantages of the UAE may well be its lucrative and ever-expanding property market.

Sourced from research carried out by Hamptons International, residential estate agents specialising in UK and International sales, lettings and property management.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Fujairah beach, water, warmth, sunset, solitude—total therapy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why Shift to Fujairah from Dubai?

An expat from Australia who moved to Dubai with his wife and 2 young kids late last year is “finding Dubai to be ridiculously expensive and like one big construction site” so they are considering moving to Fujairah.

He asks: “Does anyone know what it’s like to live there?”

Opportunity to Contribute
If you’re living in Fujairah, have made this same transition or think you have a suggestion, your ideas will be gratefully received. Even if you have no view on this matter, check out the growing number of comments.

Moving from Dubai to Fujairah. What Is It Like to Live There? AD Telly, 24 July 2009.

Directions from Dubai to Fujairah, FIF, 12 September 2008.
Fujairah, the UAE’s Quiet Alternative, FIF, 30 June 2009.
Best Beaches in Fujairah and on the East Coast of the UAE, FIF, 3 January 2009.
Why Visit Fujairah series [see this and links], FIF, 10 September 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Stunning Hajar Mountains that welcome you on the way to Fujairah.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Flags of Fujairah

In posting an article on the flag of the UAE for preparation towards the new Culture Test to attain a residency visa, it is interesting to note that the separate emirates have had or still have their own flag.

History of Fujairah Flags
A Wikipedia article reports:

“From 1902 until 1952, the flag of Fujairah was plain red.”

“In 1952, the Emir included the name of the emirate, in white, on the red flag.”

“This continued to be the official flag until Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed al Sharqi abolished the red flag and adopted [in 1975], instead, the Federal flag for Fujairah.”

Flags of each emirate of the UAE, Wikipedia.
Lesson #1 for UAE’s Culture Test Towards Residency Visa, ETE.
Lesson #2 for UAE’s Culture Test Towards Residency Visa, ETE.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: The old and current flags of Fujairah.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Congratulations to Fujairah’s Hotel JAI for Scooping Top Award

Congratulations Hotel JAI
Congratulations to Hotel JAI Fujairah Resort and Spa for being chosen one of the world’s top 1% hotels by Expedia.

Winning Formula
What was it that visitors liked about Hotel JAI Fujairah Resort and Spa?

The luxury spa facilities?

The Kodomo Kid Club, Asobi Video Game Room and all the other children’s facilities?

Or was it the superb service provided by manager Christian Renailter and his team?

Taste and See
I guess there’s one way to find out the secret winning ingredients.

Ever stayed a night in one of the top 1% of hotels in the world before?

Winning Location
This award to Fujairah’s Hotel JAI is also an award to Fujairah and its stunning coastline.

When your hotel is gloriously sandwiched between the majestic Hajjar Mountains and the azure waters of the Arabian Sea, you are 75% on the way to collecting international prizes.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “What was it that visitors liked about Hotel JAI Fujairah Resort and Spa?” (Pictures courtesy Hotel JAI at the above link)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Searching for Secrets in Sands of the Emirates

Shaun Meintjes, of The Times in South Africa flies over the desert of the Arabian Peninsula and lands in the airport at Dubai.

Ditching the Dazzle
He says, “I spot what everyone describes as dazzling Dubai. But it’s not the dazzle I’m after: it’s the dust and the secrets it holds.”

Meintjes gets himself a guide who takes him to the Dubai Museum, a walking tour of Bastakiya in Bur Dubai, the Heritage Village, some Dubai mosques and the historic souks.

Heading Out East
The next day they drive towards Fujairah via Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain. They stop at the Friday Market, the Hajjar Mountains and the 17th century Bidiya Mosque.

The article is full of history and images from ancient generations. It is slow-paced and searching, like a traveller seeking secrets in the sands.

Shaun Meintjes, The Soul of the Sands, The Times, 12 July 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Sands of the Emirates.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Visit Khor Kalba When You’re in Fujairah, UAE

Khor Kalba is one of my favorite places on the UAE’s east coast.

You can see from the collage (pictured), that there is a lovely walk alongside the water that looks across to the significant mangrove conservation area.

The majestic Hajar Mountains provide the perfect backdrop.

The early morning is a good time to visit, not only because it is cooler but because it is often still and the rising sun can work magnificent reflections on the water.

I took these pictures over 45 minutes and one can see the different light as it plays on the views.

How to Get to Khor Kalba
Check out this article to discover how to get to Khor Kalba and while you are there, explore the wonders of the beach as you have a swim and walk to the Omani border.

Related Kalba Topics
Best Beaches in Fujairah and on East Coast of the UAE, Fujairah in Focus (FIF).
Solar Ball Rising Over Arabian Sea, FIF.
Kalba Road and Gillay Tunnel on Video, FIF.
Sharjah and Fujairah Look to Team Up to Promote Tourism, FIF.
Birds of Fujairah and the UAE East Coast, FIF.
Fujairah (and Kalba) on Google Earth, FIF.
Directions from Dubai to Fujairah, FIF.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “The rising sun can work magnificent reflections on the water.” (Click to enlarge)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ballet, Salsa, Tango, Hip-Hop, Belly and Other Dancing in Fujairah, UAE

One of the regular readers of Fujairah in Focus wrote asking whether I knew of any dance instructor or dance classes in Fujairah.

There are snippets of information around but if you know of dance classes or sessions starting and if you have an interest in being part of a group, do let me know and I can pass the word on.

Islam on Dancing
I was interested to learn how Islam views dancing and here is a summary statement on Islam Online (which may not necessarily reflect UAE standards):

“Dancing can be either between women, between men, or mixed between both sexes.”

Unrevealing and Free
“It is allowed for women to dance together unless it involves revealing any of the woman’s `awrah – that is, the parts of the body between the navel and the knee – in front of other women. It is also allowed unless the dancing means that mandatory obligations will not be carried out or if it coincides with unlawful acts.”

Not Stimulating Unhealthy Desire
“In this regard, Dr. Su’ad Salih, professor of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) at Al-Azhar University , states:

‘Islam is a religion of moderation; it does not prevent singing and dancing, but it forbids anything that stimulates people’s desires, whether it be among men or women. Women are supposed to observe good manners if they dance in front of other women. They should not exceed the limits by doing anything that stimulates desires and incites evil. There are many cases where women are tempted by other women.’

Woman Dancing Before Husband Unrestricted
“However, if a woman dances in front of her husband, then there is no restriction, as it is a way of cementing relations between spouses – and this a key pillar of establishing the Muslim family.”

Women Before Women
“Moreover, Dr. Salim Ahmad Salamah, Dean of the Faculty of Usul Ad-Deen at the Islamic University, Gaza, adds:

‘It is permissible for women to dance and sing as long as there are no males around. In addition, the words of the song should be free from any foul words or vulgarity. Thus, as long as the words of the song are pure and clean and there are no males, there is nothing wrong in dancing.’

Men Before Men
“By analogy, men are allowed to dance together as long as they cover their 'awrah' (the parts of the body between the navel and the knee) and there is no fear of temptation.”

Mixed Dancing Prohibited
“Men and women dancing together is absolutely haram in all cases, except when a wife dances in front of her husband. The reason behind this prohibition is that with mixed dancing bodily contact is close and improper sexual desires are aroused. This has been strictly forbidden by Islam in an attempt to block the way against evil. If men and women were permitted to dance together, a lot of haram acts could occur. That is why mixed dancing is not allowed.”

As in all responses to ethical questions Islam Online concludes with the rider, ‘Almighty Allah knows best.’

Dancing in UAE
The UAE is an international society where traditional forms of dance are practiced and displayed in theatres and many different dancing clubs and classes are permitted.

Fujairah Scene
Do leave a comment about dance classes and clubs in the emirate of Fujairah.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff Pound can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fujairah Siji Hotel Manager Sees 30% Rise in Tourists

Increase of Local Tourists
Al Diar Siji Hotel, a five-star business hotel in Fujairah managed by Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH), has witnessed a 30 per cent increase on local tourist arrivals for the first half of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

Fouad Melhem, the hotel’s general manager, is quoted in Trade Arabia (11 July 2009) as expressing suprise:
“The more than half surge in local tourist arrival figures for the second quarter was totally unexpected and very surprising.”

Strategic Reasons
The manager added:

“Our strategic location in Fujairah city centre, being next to Fujairah International Airport and very accessible from the Fujairah Port, has helped sustain Al Diar Siji Hotel to cope up with the low season because of regular bookings.”

He also pointed out that it has also been a factor that the Emirate of Fujairah is becoming more and more popular tourist destination and weekend getaway haven.

Read all the details:
Fujairah Hotel Sees 30% Rise in Tourists, Trade Arabia, 11 July 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Bedroom in the Al Diar Siji Hotel in Fujairah’s main street. The 30% increase in domestic tourists applies to Al Diar Siji Hotel, which is located in between Fujairah Trade Center and Fujairah Tower along Hamad Bin Abdullah Road.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fujairah and Sharjah Partnership in Tourism Might Best Start With Fujairah Museum

The emirates of Fujairah and Sharjah are discussing the possibility of teaming up to tackle the task of tourism in their neighbouring spheres.

Top of the List
Judging by customer response the Fujairah Museum might be one of the first projects to address.

Tourist Feedback
Stuart, a recent visitor to Fujairah and Sharjah says in his travel diary (5 July 2009) about the Fujairah museum:

‘Don’t bother. While the fort is mildly interesting, it is surrounded by a construction site. The cultural village which it sits in the middle of is unfinished and surrounded by grey, stone gravel. Nothing to look at and nothing to do. When it is finished it should be fine, I assume that they are going to plant some trees and grass the surrounding area, but for the moment, don’t waste your time or the five Dihrams that I spent in the Museum that took five minutes to walk around.”

‘The museum in Fujairah was in this old building and the displays less than interesting.’

Venturing to Sharjah
Stuart writes of ‘stumbling’ around Sharjah’s Khor Kalba and discovering another museum and the Kalba fort.

He writes about a lack of information—‘How does one find out about these things?’—and a difficulty over getting tickets.

Customer Complaints
Stuart appears to be a seasoned informed traveller who is diligent enough to write up a travel diary and post pictures from his travels.

From such reports we can learn a lot about the positive things and the deficiencies of the tourism smorgasbord being offered by Fujairah and Sharjah.

Without labouring the point and bagging Fujairah tourism authorities, these complaints have been appearing on Internet travel diaries for years.

Open to Feedback
Sometimes criticism can hurt us but to seek customer response is the way to find out what is working in our service and often this is the source of great creativity.

For Example
Take a video camera and interview tourists to Fujairah and Sharjah. Ask them questions and show the answers to the tourism authorities.

Ji Lee at Google masterminded this technique of interviewing people and seeking customer feedback. See him in action below with people on the street:

Fujairah Fort Majestic in the Day, FIF.
Visiting the Fujairah Museum, FIF.
Video Footage of Fujairah, FIF.

Dr Geoff Pound
Geoff can be contacted on email at geoffpound(@)gmail.com on Facebook or Twitter.

Image: Interior of Fujairah Museum

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fujairah Roads to Get an Upgrade

The Director of the Fujairah Municipality, Saif Al Afkham, announced that the civic body would start paving roads in the new residential centres of the emirate.

There is an enormous drive going on at the moment in terms of extending and overhauling Fujairah’s infrastructure.

New sewerage drains have gone through most Fujairah backyards in recent months. After this has been completed the Fujairah Municipality is committed to tackling the road network of the emirate.

More Detail
Salah Al Deberky, Fujairah’s Streets to Get a Makeover, Khaleej Times, 8 July 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The Fujairah Municipality is committed to tackle the road network of the emirate.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sharjah and Fujairah Look to Team Up to Promote Tourism

Business 24/7 reported recently:
“Two tourism promotion boards in the UAE – Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) and Fujairah Tourism and Archaeology Authority (FTAA) – are exploring areas of co-operation for tourism promotion.”

Financial Sense
This teamwork makes sense as the UAE's tourism sector is increasingly one of the most important contributors to the country's GDP, with a total of Dh125 billion in travel and tourism revenues in 2007. A combination of the resources of Sharjah and Fujairah makes good marketing sense.

Vital for the Tourist
Partnering together will be better for the tourist who is probably oblivious most times when crossing the borders of the seven emirates.

Driving to Fujairah from Dubai and neighboring Sharjah, then venturing down to Kalba and up to Al Aqah beaches, one crosses back and forwards between Fujairah and Sharjah many times. They don’t advertize state borders in the Emirates as blatantly as they do in the United States of Amercia.

Look at the map (pictured-CLICK FOR MAGNIFICATION) that I obtained recently from John Chilton of The Emirates Economist. Identify the emirate of Fujairah and then see the many enclaves of the emirate of Sharjah within its domain. No wonder Chilton entitled his post on the UAE Community Blog (5 July 2009), ‘the Crazy Quilt that is the UAE.’

To add to the craziness, the white blob within Fujairah is an enclave of Oman. On the coast at this point is the crazy little town of Dibba, parts of which are in Fujairah, Sharjah and Oman! Maybe while teamwork is on the table it would be good to discuss greater UAE/Omani cooperation in tourism.

Both Rich in Beaches and Beauty
I live in Fujairah and I love this emirate but if I am asked what tourists might see in Fujairah over a weekend, I would encourage them to also go to Sharjah. For instance look at these articles:

Things to See and Do Along the Fujairah Corniche, FIF.

Best Beaches in Fujairah and on the East Coast of the UAE, FIF.

Khor Fakkan Beach Delights, FIF.

Both Rich in Conservation and Wild Life
Sharjah has got magnificent wild life conservation areas and superb places for bird watching and Fujairah has got numerous wadis such as the newly protected, Wadi Wurayah, FIF.

Both Rich in Heritage
Fujairah and Sharjah are extremely rich in terms of their history and heritage attractions that can be showcased to tourists.

Big Tourism Showcase
Special packages could be put together for those who arrive on the east coast via Cruise Ships at the Fujairah Port.

The Fujairah airport, which is developing domestically and internationally, is becoming a larger doorway for tourists to come to Sharjah and Fujairah and they represent a growing market to which to pitch the many combined attractions.

Practical Moves to Develop Cooperation
In November 2007 I wrote an article entitled, ‘Greater Sharjah and Fujairah Tourism Cooperation: I’d Like to See That!’ FIF.

This article argues for greater cooperation in tourism and offers some practical starting points.

Sheikh Al Sharqi Promotes Fujairah’s Tourism and Archaeology, FIF, 2 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound
Geoff can be contacted at geoffpound(@)gmail.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: "No wonder Chilton entitled his post...‘the Crazy Quilt that is the UAE.’

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Safety License for Fujairah International Airport

Following the May announcement that Fujairah expects three passenger airlines to be operating in the eastern emirate by the end of this year, the General Civil Aviation Authority has recently granted a licence to Fujairah International Airport (FIA) after it met all necessary safety and security requirements.

The inspection and licensing programme is designed to raise operational, security and safety standards.

Source: Fujairah Airport Granted License, WAM, Emirates Business 24/7, 6 July 2009.

Read further about the Strategic Advantages of Fujairah Airport, FIF.

Dr Geoff Pound

Scientist Claims to Have Found New Species of Fish in Fujairah

New Discovery
On a field trip to Wadi Al Wurayah, the UAE's newly protected mountain area in the Hajar Mountains of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, on Friday the 26th June 2009, Dr. Norman Ali Khalaf-von Jaffa, claims to have discovered a new subspecies of blind cave fish (Garra barreimiae) in the pool waters.

Dr Khalaf, a zoologist from Sharjah said, “They resemble aquarium catfish as they nuzzle their way over gravel and rock surfaces, but they dart about frantically when approached in shallow pools where they are vulnerable to terrestrial and avian predators.”

New Color and New Size
This new subspecies is distinguished from the other three subspecies of Garra barreimiae living in Bahrain, Oman and United Arab Emirates, by its distinctive body colouration and its small size.

New Name
Dr Khalaf has given the new subspecies the scientific name ‘Garra barreimiae wurayahi’ or its common name in English, ‘Emirati Blind Cave Fish, Wadi Al Wurayah.’

Read more about the discovery and the fish at:
A New Species of Blind Cave Fish, Marine Animal News, 6 July 2009.

Dr Khalaf was accompanied on this trip by his wife Ola and daughter Nora.
See this Website for more information:

Dr. Khalaf's Email: jaffacity@gmail.com
Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Garra Barreimiae Wurayahi (photo courtesy of Dr Khalaf at the above link)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Powerplant, Pipeline and Port are Plus Signs for Fujairah

While the international financial recession and Swine Flu are knocking leisure tourism, the General Manager of the Coral Residence Tower Fujairah, Elie Tohme, is looking positively towards three big plus signs for Fujairah:

“Business travel will remain high due to the big projects coming up in Fujairah: the powerplant, the pipeline and the positioning of the emirate as a premier shipping port.”

Read more of Tohme’s upbeat outlook for Fujairah at this link:

Coral Residence Tower Fujairah Continues to be Upbeat Despite the Slowdown in Tourism, AMEInfo, 2 July 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fujairah Photographer in Focus

Soon after I wrote about finding old photographs of Fujairah, Rym Ghazal, has a wonderful article in The National about Javed Qureshi, who for three decades has been the personal photographer of the Ruler of Fujairah, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed.

Enjoy the article, the memories and relish some of Javed’s photographs at this link:

Rym Ghazal, A Photo Odyssey in Fujairah, The National, 2 July 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Javed Qureshi at one of the recent Fujairah festivals, looking for another scene to film.