Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Friday, December 31, 2010

Some Highlights of Fujairah 2010 and Hopes for Fujairah in 2011

Everybody will have their own bundle of highlights in Fujairah for 2010 and hopes for the New Year but here are some headings to spark your memory:

+ That fish that were caught in the fishing capital of the UAE and the lure of fishing.
+ The emergence of the UAE film industry with movies like City of Life and DAM 999.
+ The first fashion exhibition in Fujairah.
+ The maturing of the UAE’s fashion industry.
+ The greening of Fujairah, its beautification and Green Globe for Miramar Hotel.
+ Fujairah’s population reaches 165,000.
+ Enjoying the UAE’s wonderland at Wadi Wuruyah.
+ The building of hotels and apartment towers and more, plus shops in the north.
+ Attending the Digital Consumer Channel Conference.
+ The emergence of Fujairah on 360 Panoramas and more and more.
+ Witnessing the growth of Fujairah’s oil industry with new terminal, new oil pipeline from Abu Dhabi.
+ The upswing in hotels, opening of Iberotel Concorde, Le Méridien Chef honored.
+ Fujairah in Focus on Facebook.
+ Biggest Land Reclamation Project in the UAE.
+ Fujairah’s role in rock exporting.
+ Children star in dancing and Christmas musical.
+ Fujairah photographer shoots at the FIFA World Cup in SA.
+ Drive In Cinema is announced to open on 10/10/10 @10pm but will it open now @11pm on 11/11/11?
+ Fujairah reveals the secret to Lionel Messi’s success.
+ The building of the largest mosque in Fujairah.
+ New Muslim Pen reads the Quran the write way.
+ The rise of taekwondo in Fujairah.
+ New mall for Lulu and other malls coming.
+ Maktoum Championships stage Ramadan Tournament at Tennis Club.
+ Pakistan floods trigger overflow of compassion in Fujairah.
+ Establishing the most scenic shisha site in the UAE.
+ Electricity shortage easing.
+ Growing variety of eating places—Yemeni mandi, Middle Eastern, Samakino for seafood, Chinese (with night club and karaoke), more Chinese, a renovated KFC, the opening of McDonald’s, Thai Express, Subway and more.
+ Dhow cruises from Fujairah.
+ Fujairah and UAE emerging from recession.
+ Sheikh Mohammed (Dubai) has good news for Fujairah and more plus he gives Fujairah a new name.
+ Renovations at Marine Club with observation platform, extended marina, new brochure, fishing competition.
+ Al Saif sword competition inaugurated by Crown Prince, with new rules and prizes, heritage crafts, traditional food, two world records, keeping alive traditions and new beginnings for the Fort.
+ Emirati poet visits Fujairah.
+ Taxi drivers get a rise.
+ Improved transparency in business.
+ Nurturing traditional culture with shasha (boats).
+ Developing creativity, new pursuits like birding, fishing.
+ The rise of the inexpensive mass wedding, the new type of palm tree.
+ Celebrating the graduation of Sheikh Rashid.
+ National day car dressing, heritage exhibition, Social Development Centre crafts.
+ New census ordered to assist in more effective planning.

Hopes for Fujairah
+ Getting a makeover for the emirate.
+ Achieving wise balance between economic and environmental interests.
+ Lightening Fujairah’s ecological footprint
+ The upgrading of education starting with preschool, primary and secondary.
+ Purifying the Fujairah air and new air pollution controls to overcome respiratory illnesses.
+ Developing the Fujairah Corniche and including a new swimming pool complex plus renovating this beach area.
+ More roundabout architecture—the date roundabout and a fort roundabout.
+ Residential recycling facilities.
+ The Masdarization of Fujairah.
+ Fulfilling its tourist potential and captures cruise ship tourist potential.
+ Fujairah becomes a green city and emirate.

Thanks to His Highness, the Ruler of Fujairah, for his family and city leaders. Best wishes for a peaceful new year in Fujairah and the United Arab Emirates.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Photos of the Fujairah Royal Family

One of the distinctive features of life in the UAE is the many photographs in hotels, businesses, schools, colleges and restaurants of the President, Rulers, Crown Princes and members of the royal families.

The photographs are not as prominent as the life-size portraits of the King in Thailand but they are much more evident than photographs of political leaders in most western countries.

Residents of the UAE seem to like this tradition as the photos do not seem to be posted to remind the masses of who is in power but more to convey and nurture a mutual affection between royalty and residents.

The photos are always male only, in accordance with Emirati custom. One wonders if and when there will be a day when female family members are also pictured and recognized for their contribution.

New Photos in Fujairah
There are some new photos of the Royal Family that have appeared recently around the emirate of Fujairah.

On the exterior of the Fujairah International Marine Club the old photograph of the Fujairah family in their regal cloaks (bisht) has been replaced with a new one (pictured).

The sons standing with His Highness, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi (from right to left: His Highness the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi and Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad Al Sharqi), appear more mature and bewhiskered in this new photograph.

The background is shaded with the red, white, black and green with which the Fujairah and UAE flags are coloured.

The Arabic caption to the photograph may be translated as: “Wise leadership for a bright future.”

Fujairah Football Club Photo
In keeping with the major renovations that have been taking place at the Fujairah Football Club, a new photograph (pictured) of the Fujairah Royal Family has appeared out the front.

The purple tones conform to the decorative appearance of the renovated club complex and the heritage imagery calls to mind the cultural treasures that the emirate of Fujairah possesses.

Take a Look
More pictures have been placed in this photo album.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Data Updating in Fujairah Conducted by Surveyors with PDAs

Training Surveyors
A training session was conducted yesterday (28 December 2010) by the Fujairah Statistics Center and attended by 40-50 people who are hoping to become surveyors for the Tehdees ul Bayanat (‘Project for Data Updating’).

Part of the criteria for selecting surveyors to undertake the first stage of the Data Updating Project (commencing on 16 January and concluding 15 February 2011) is their ability to use the technology correctly and efficiently.

Technological Aids
PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants or mobile palmtop computers) will be used to collect the data and workshop leader, Raheel Anwar, explained that the Fujairah Statistics Center had developed software specifically for the 2011 Data Updating Project in Fujairah.

Instead of writing down information on paper and later transferring this to a central computer, the data will be entered into the hand-held computers and transferred in seconds at the end of each day to the government department server, thus speeding up the process considerably.

Questions on PDAs
The final 30 surveyors selected for Stage 1 will be allotted part of the emirate of Fujairah, under the watchful eye of an area supervisor. For this purpose the emirate has been divided up into Main Areas (e.g. Fujairah City), Sub Areas (e.g. Faseel) and Blocks (e.g. White Village).

Surveyors were shown how they can check the Main Area, the Sub-area and the Block number on their PDA, after which a list of questions and a map of the area appears on their screen.

Stage One
During Stage 1 of the Data Updating Project surveyors will collect information solely about buildings in Fujairah.

Information will relate to such things as:
1. Whether a building is completed or not.
2. Electricity Meter Numbers
3. The number of residential units in a building.
4. The number of establishments in a building (shops, Post Offices, mosques, fitness centres, clinics, hotels, restaurants etc.)
5. The number of entrances in a building.

Survey trainees at yesterday’s workshop were given the opportunity of using the PDAs, discovering its various fields, inputting different types of required information and locking the data into the hand-held computers.

One additional feature of Stage 1 will be identifying the exact position of each building in Fujairah by Global Positioning System (GPS), which is a feature that is integrated into each PDA used by the surveyors.

This will aid the accuracy of where buildings are positioned and it will be a useful resource for town planning and the development of detailed maps in the emirate of Fujairah.

Yesterday’s workshop in Fujairah was informative and interactive, providing lots of hands-on opportunities for trainees to display their skills and show the organizers that they are the people for the job.

Take a Look
Some pictures from yesterday’s training workshop conducted by the Fujairah Statistics Centre are included in this photo album.

Fujairah Ruler Orders Census in 2011, FIF, 26 December 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Images: Workshop leader, Raheel Anwar, of the Fujairah Statistics Center, explaining how to use the PDA and software specifically developed for the Data Updating Project 2011 in Fujairah.

New Year in Fujairah

Here’s a timely New Year sign in the Fujairah suburb of Al Shariah.

Wishing all readers of Fujairah in Focus a happy, safe and adventurous new year in 2011.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fast Food Frenzy in Fujairah is Changing Dietary Patterns

In less than three months Fujairah will have witnessed the opening of five new fast food restaurants which are changing the dietary patterns of the city’s residents.

It started with the opening of the Fujairah McDonald’s Restaurant and drive through on 21 November 2010 after more than a year of waiting to get the electricity connected.

Thai Express followed a few days later in the same fast food location between the Beach Motel roundabout and the Fujairah Port. Its opening was not as frenetic as the commencement of the first ‘Maccas’ on the UAE’s East Coast.

Last Thursday saw the opening of Subway which appears to be doing a brisk trade and is still advertising for staff.

Domino’s, the fast food pizza restaurant, is due to open in a month alongside Thai Express and this will see the addition of Fujairah to its growing chain in the UAE.

Between Subway and Thai Express, Baskin-Robbins has put up its sign and word is that they will open in two months. The popular ice cream specialty store with its ‘31 flavours’ already has a presence in Fujairah’s main street and a Facebook Page “for all those folk who simply cannot live without B & R and need to have their daily dose of B & R creamy luscious ice cream!”

There is one more space between Domino’s Pizza and McDonald’s in this fast food block that hasn’t been spoken for.

Corniche Location
In another location, on the Fujairah Corniche, between the Marine Club and the Night Souq, work is proceeding steadily to finish a two-storey restaurant which is due to open under the banner of the Golden Fork.

Fujairah’s Fast Food Court
This fast food centre behind the Eppco Petrol Station does not look like a food court in a Dubai mall but it will operate as such.

Imagine the dinner orders from one Fujairah family reading something like this:

+ Abdulla: 3 Imperial Rolls, 1 Big Mac, Large fries with plenty of salt, Chocolate Lava Crunch Cake, Very Berry Ice cream.

+ Fatima: Tom-Yum soup, Filet-O-fish, Medium fries with no salt, Cinna Stix, Baked Apple Pie and Chocolate Ice cream.

+ Mohammed: Double Quarter Pounder with cheese, Big Fries, Cashew Nut Stir Fry, Pepperoni Pizza (deep dish crust) plus Pralines’n Cream.

+ Saleem: Tom-Yum Soup (lemongrass), Big n’ Tasty (without pickle), Small fries and chocolate ice cream.

+ Ali: McDouble, Pad Thai noodles, Large fries, Hawaiian Pizza (crunchy thin crust) and a McFlurry.

+ Aisha: Pad Sew (stir fried noodles), Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Hot Caramel Sundae and cherries jubilee ice cream.

Too Much to Stomach?
It is good for Fujairah residents and tourists to have options but with the huge pulling power of these international restaurant chains it will be sad if they bring about the demise of the traditional Middle Eastern restaurants and takeaway counters that have served Fujairah residents for decades.

With the recently expressed concern about the diluting of Emirati identity, government authorities might well be advised to monitor the move from an Emirati/Middle Eastern diet to a globalised diet of hamburgers, pizza and ice cream, due in large part to the force of the fast food restaurants that are springing up all over the UAE.

Take a Look
Some photos of the fast food restaurants that are emerging in Fujairah are in this photo album.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Images: In less than three months Fujairah will have witnessed the opening of five new fast food restaurants which are changing the dietary patterns of the city’s residents.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Demolition of Old Industrial Area in Fujairah Begins New Year

On Notice
The evacuation notice has been posted by the Fujairah Municipality in Arabic, English, Malayalam and Urdu.

Tenants now have only a few days before the demolition drive through the old industrial and commercial buildings commences on 1 January 2011.

Leaseholders are requested to disconnect their electricity, water and telecommunication services as soon as possible.

Repeat Warning
This sign that has been erected for several weeks is not the first notice that leaseholders have received as they have been alerted since 2007 to the mass migration to the new industrial area at Al Hayl.

New Area Unconnected
When asked how they felt about the move to Al Hayl, some owners of industrial businesses expressed two main concerns.

The first obstacle that has hampered the move has been the lack of services. “Why go out to Al Hayl,” one owner of a mechanic business said, “when there are no connections for water, power and phone lines?”

Accommodation Problems
Most of the industrial companies currently provide accommodation for their workers on their operation site. Sometimes as many as 12-15 men are roomed up together behind an industrial garage and the accommodation and food is recognized as part of the salary package.

The Fujairah Municipality has ordered that this trend is not to continue in Al Hayl so owners or their employees are being faced with knowing where they might be accommodated and at what extra expense.

New Plans for Old Area
The old industrial area has become ramshackled and is something of an eyesore when one looks out on the right side as one enters Fujairah city from Dubai. Many of the roads are unsealed and the ones that are have enormous potholes. Little maintenance has gone into this area in the last few years.

The Novotel and Ibis hotels are being built on the edge of this old industrial area so the Municipality obviously has developed new plans for this prime real estate.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Images: Evacuation notice; a view of the old industrial area in Fujairah.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fujairah Ruler Orders Census in 2011

Ruler Decrees
On the order of His Highness, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and the Ruler of Fujairah, the Fujairah Statistics Center is staging a Data Updating Project in the first half of 2011.

Strictly speaking the statistical data collection is being called a ‘Data Updating for Population, Residences and Establishments’ or Tehdees ul Bayanat, which is the Arabic term to describe a ‘Project for Data Updating’.

This terminology reflects a greater breadth in the collection of data which in 2011 will collect details to do with people, establishments (shops, businesses) and buildings.

Regional Responsibility
Traditionally a census has been taken every five years in the UAE with the first one in 1975 and the last one undertaken in 2005.

There is some flexibility for each emirate to seek data that is particular to their emirate but the majority of the survey questions will be common to every emirate.

2011 Timetable
The 2011 data collection project will have three main phases:

1. 16 January to 15 February: Building & Establishment Count
2. 6 March to 5 April: A more detailed count of flats and establishments
3. 1 May to 31 May: Survey of people

Approximately one month will be allotted for each phase.

Collection Method
The collection of data will be by trained collectors using PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) which are palm held mobile computers for which software has been developed specifically for this project.

This method will enable the data to be transferred speedily in real time onto a major computer at the government department and its digital quality will make for highly efficient processing and easier analysis of the statistics.

The people of Fujairah who participate in this data collection will not have to use a PDA or computer but at the appropriate time they will be asked to provide responses to standard questions.

Coordination Team
A small but hard working team of statisticians and IT personnel at the Fujairah Statistics Center, under the leadership of Dr. Ibrahim Saad, is managing the entire process.

At present the team is finalizing software, preparing promotional material and conducting interviews and training to acquire data surveyors who can use the technology, are fluent in different languages and can relate to Fujairah residents with courtesy and respect.

Confidentiality is a serious commitment of the Fujairah Statistics Center which at all times will be conducting the data collection in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2007.

Publicity Coming
Infomercials, billboard signs and press statements will appear shortly to provide the public of Fujairah with detailed information.

People Count
The advertisement (pictured) “invites you to participate and cooperate in the success of this project.”

The purpose is not to pry into people’s private lives or keep lists for the pleasure of statisticians.

A data collection like the one ordered by His Highness is a major resource in ascertaining trends that are crucial to effective town planning. A data collection highlights social and economic needs which influence government funding and help determine the wise placement of community services such as roads, schools, shopping areas and health centres.

Contact Information
For queries and concerns please contact:
Government of Fujairah
Fujairah Statistics Center
P O Box 7779
Tel: (09) 2227265; (09) 2222111
Fax: (09) 2241808
Email: fscfuj@emirates.ae
Website: www.fscfuj.ae

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Basic, Everyday Bread at the Talal Bakery in Old Fujairah

A visit to Fujairah’s Talal bakery is a reminder of how basic bread is—the making, the buying and the eating.

Basic Amenities
In what must be one of the oldest bakeries in the emirate of Fujairah, the Talal consists of only two rooms:

A small kitchen (this is too grandiose a title) at the rear where the dough is mixed, cut into pieces and rolled flat before being sent through the hole in the wall.

An equally small platform on which the bread maker sits to moisten the dough, stretch it over a mould, press it on the walls of the tandoori oven and retrieve it with a couple of tongs and a flick of the wrist 90 seconds later.

In the Talal there’s only enough room for a couple of customers but the front window is open for ventilation and sales.

Perhaps the only significant change to the process in the last three decades is the plastic bags nailed to the wall and taken down by the baker, the customer or some willing helper.

Basic Range
The bread maker is Afghani so the bread might be an Afghani recipe. Customers of many nationalities buy their bread at the Talal.

In contrast to the great range of bread available from Fujairah’s hypermarkets, the Talal sells only two types of products—small and large.

Basic Cost
The small, round bread, which is the size of a dinner plate, sells for 50 fils and the large long bread costs one dirham.

The Talal bread is basic, common and everyday but when it emerges piping hot and with its bubbled texture it stirs the senses as only the aroma of freshly baked bread can.

Basic Location
The Talal is a narrow shop on Al Salam Road in ‘Old Fujairah’. It is on the right coming from Faseel and is three doors along from the Al Kouse Restaurant.

Basic Hours
Not sure when the Talal opens each morning but it shuts its doors at 3pm.

Basic Qualities
Talal is a man’s name and an Arabic word that can mean ‘nice’, ‘admirable’, ‘pure’ or ‘clean’—all the basic qualities one looks for in a bakery.

Take a Look
Some photos of the Talal bakery are posted in this photo album.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: “The Talal sells only two types of products—small and large.”

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hundreds of Inspections a Week at the Fujairah Hilton

Disclaimer (see below)
In two months the Fujairah Hilton has had 6,000 people through the doors—virtually speaking.

Remco Werkhoven, the Hilton’s General Manager saw that for a small amount of money he could get his hotel photographed in panoramic style. Since launching the 360 Emirates Panorama and virtual tour of the Hilton on 13 October 2010, there have been 6,220 views (at the time of writing—23 December 2010).

Remco says it is difficult to ascertain how many of the virtual viewers show up at his front door with their suitcases and swimsuits but he is positive about the way the online panorama is able to put the Fujairah Hilton before national and international tourists.

His Hilton colleagues in the region told him to ‘Go for it’ and if it looks like a productive advertising tool they’ll all be in on it and queuing up to ask 360 Emirates Panorama for a group discount.

Skilfully, Remco selected the Fujairah Hilton’s most attractive assets to show off to the world:

1. See the stunning sea views and private beach that few city hotels in Fujairah possess. If you can stay handy to the airport and within Fujairah’s central business district, why would you not choose a hotel on the beach?

2. Click on the auto revolve button and see how the photo turns to the Breezes Terrace providing shelter and refreshment while you enjoy the sea and keep a eye on the children.

3. Let the panorama revolve further and with your mouse zoom in and take a look at the Breezes Bar which is one of the newer additions to the Hilton service.

As it comes almost 360 degrees see the footprints on the path and click on them to come to the second panorama showing the swimming pool, fitness centre, water fountain and behind it a Middle Eastern souq.

This in turn leads to a final sequence where you can view the colourful and well-lit welcome lobby.

360 Emirates Panorama
The panorama and virtual tour is increasingly being used by UAE businesses and Colleges to showcase their wares.

Among hoteliers like Remco Werkhoven at the Fujairah Hilton, the virtual tour is helpful for showing the advantages of your business to prospective national and international guests who are increasingly choosing to do their own research and book online.

Become a Virtual Tourist at the Fujairah Hilton
To view the 360 Panorama and have a virtual tour of the Fujairah Hilton click on this link.

More on 360 Emirates Panorama
360 Emirates Virtual Tours
Historic First 360° Panorama Photos Taken of Fujairah, FIF, 29 September 2010.
360° Emirates Panorama on Google Earth Comes to Fujairah, FIF, 21 September 2010.
Exploring Fujairah on a 360° Virtual Tour, FIF, 17 September 2010.
Keep Up with More Fujairah Panoramas on 360 Emirates in Fujairah and UAE East Coast on Facebook.

Get a Better Look at the Fujairah Hilton
A selection of Scenes from the Hilton Hotel Fujairah is posted in this photo album.

Geoff Pound is a Fujairah agent for the 360 Emirates Panorama.

More details (including the cost) and how you can get a 360 Panorama for your business or College can be found at this link.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Try out Wellness Centre for Free at Iberotel Concorde Hotel Fujairah

Free Week
Ayman Ashor, General Manager of Fujairah’s new Iberotel Concorde, believes people need to try before they buy so he is inviting Fujairah in Focus readers to enjoy the fitness facilities at his hotel for one week free of charge.

This offer includes all the latest gym machines (with the guidance of trained instructors who will show you how they work), the spa, the sauna room, the jacuzzi and the indoor (heated) swimming pool or the outside rooftop pool.

A variety of massage treatments are available at the Concorde but they are not included free of charge in this trial week deal.

What You’ll Discover
1. You’ll always be able to get a free park in front or behind the Concorde or failing this, the Concorde hotel has hundreds of car parks underneath the rear building. This hotel has more parking space than any other hotel on the UAE’s East Coast.

2. The Wellness Center, called ‘Adam and Eve’, is aimed to get you back into your perfect shape. It has separate facilities for men and women for when you are gyrating around the floor, who wants to put up with people staring at you?

3. The room given over to the gym is huge! I have only seen the men’s area and it is bigger than anything else in Fujairah and the women’s area is a mirror image. Especially when starting on new equipment in an exercise routine you don’t want to be crowded by lots of other people or find that people are queuing up to use the equipment on which you are exercising.

4. If you are starting or restarting a fitness routine there are trained instructors who will demonstrate how to use the equipment and what muscles each apparatus is designed to knock into shape. If you’re a seasoned fitness freak, they will let you do your own thing without troubling you. They can explain about the classes in aerobics, yoga and the like.

5. The jacuzzi is huge and something like the old Roman baths or the large modern baths they have in Seoul, South Korea.

While You’re There…
While you are there for your free week at ‘Adam and Eve’, do ask to see the other facilities. Especially ask to see:

+ The Samakino seafood restaurant.

+ The huge wedding hall—there are three rooms for conferences or small weddings and functions and these walls can be taken down to create the biggest hotel wedding hall or ballroom in the emirate. It can comfortably seat 900 guests but if you are not seating everyone at tables you could accommodate 1100+ people.

+ Check out the rooftop swimming pool, snack, refreshments and shisha. There are two pools here, along with deckchairs. You will be surprised and you will love the views of Fujairah that you get from the rooftop.

Accept Ayman’s invitation to readers of Fujairah in Focus. Tell him and his staff that you read about the free week offer on Fujairah in Focus.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: The Iberotel Concorde Hotel, opposite the Al Rostamani Towers (with Nissan Showroom underneath) on Fujairah’s main street. The lower building behind and to the right is the one that houses the wedding hall, rooftop pool etc.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enjoy a Day at Dibba Beach Fujairah

Fujairah Getaway
The family beach in Dibba, Fujairah, is a popular getaway.

Families pitch tents and park their cars in the shadows of the mountain peaks and spend the day at the shores of the beach.

Visual Essay
The interactive team at The National has developed a series of ‘visual essays’ capturing life in the Emirates.

One put together by Galen Clarke is on Dibba, Fujairah and it is entitled, ‘A Day at Dibba Beach: Relaxing by the Indian Ocean’.

The visual essay is presented by way of sound, words, video and photos but it seeks to be a total experience that engages most of the senses.

Reflection Piece
These visual experiences are called, ‘Istabsir, which is an Arabic word calling readers to, “attentively reflect and contemplate with respectful consideration.”

Follow this link to arrive at a good starting point for the Dibba Istabsir.

The link at the bottom of the article will take you to the index of visual essays created by The National. If you run your cursor along these images you will come to the one on Dibba unless you get distracted by another from this amazing visual feast.

Geoff Pound

Did we hear a rumour that the Istabsir series was finishing, ‘preferring to go out on a high note’? What a pity! Some of us have only just discovered Istabsir and we are hoping the series might continue. It represents innovation at its best from The National.

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: ‘A mother with her son on the family beach just south of Dibba.” (Photo courtesy of Galen Clarke and The National)

Fujairah Media Has Surprises in Store for 2011

Robert Lewis Tadros, VP Sales and Marketing for the Fujairah Media Group, was recently interviewed by Phil Blizzard about the contribution and hopes for the media in the eastern emirate.

Tadros explained that the Fujairah Media Group is now five years in its development and it incorporates three main parts:
+ Television network
+ Radio network
+ Creative City

The Fujairah Media Group operates some radio leases itself (Coast FM, Fujairah 92.6) but it also leases out radio stations to others (e.g. Jazz 106.8 which is managed from Berlin, Germany).

New Development
There is a new development in Fujairah radio due to commence in the first quarter of 2011. It will be in English but the new format is under wraps and will be revealed as a surprise.

The newly named Fujairah Television is the flagship but there are other programmes being offered such as a cooking show and road show.

Creative City
Creative City oversees the distribution of licenses for different kinds of media.

Tadros said that one can receive a license from Fujairah but broadcast throughout the UAE and beyond.

The largest drive through cinema in this part of the world is still being planned for Fujairah but the new starting date (the original date was 10/10/10 at 10pm) was not announced.

Tadros said that the media was developing in Fujairah which he said was a ‘developing emirate’.

Listen to Entire Interview
Fujairah Media Group Five Years Old With Jazz in Berlin, AMEinfo, 21 December 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cruise Ships Present Lucrative Tourism Opportunity for Fujairah

Cruise Ship Tourism
For the last few years the number of cruise ships visiting the Fujairah Port has been gradually increasing.

The future of cruise ship tourism to the eastern emirate looks bright as the number of baby boomers increase and this comfortable holiday option gets more attractive (see this example by Costa Cruises of the unveiling of Fujairah and other unique journeys around the Middle East coastline).

58 Ships to Fujairah
The cruise ship season in Fujairah is limited to the cooler months but in this current season, between November 2010 and May 2011, 58 cruise ships are expected to visit Fujairah, including the ‘Brilliance of the Seas’ (Royal Caribbean Lines), one of the largest cruise ships in the world, which is scheduled to dock at Fujairah on 25th January 2011.

The cruise ships to Fujairah are of different capacities but at an average of 2,500 passengers per ship, that represents a huge number of tourists and a whopping number of souvenir hunters that are looking for photo experiences to capture and Middle Eastern mementoes to take back home.

Little Reason to Get Off the Ship
Despite the cruise tour publicity that lures tourists to take a cruise, a search of cruise ship trip advisory notes reveals that Fujairah has become for most of the tourists a rest day during which the majority of passengers stay on board the ship.

Too many former tourists have written, “Nothing to see in Fujairah so we spent the hours at the Fujairah Port by the ship’s swimming pool.”

Some tourists have written of their Fujairah experience: “Got a minibus to Lulu Hypermarket to do some shopping and then returned to the ship.”

No Fujairah Tourism Operators
Tourism is not the responsibility of the Port of Fujairah but the port’s deputy Marketing Manager, Nourah Al Shara, does her best to alert tour guide operators of the cruise ship schedule. Of the five tour operators who meet the ships and offer tours, four are from Dubai and one from Sharjah. This raises the question, “Where are the Fujairah tour operators?”

This is no disrespect to the current tour operators who run tours on the UAE East Coast but it is appalling that there are no Fujairah residents that are running tours for cruise ship tourists and quite possibly to all tourists in the eastern emirate!

One would think that local guides would best be able to inform visitors about their city or emirate. Surely, it would add to the authenticity of the visit if the tourists knew they were receiving a commentary from a Fujairah resident and ultimately an Emirati guide.

Heritage Village Emerging
Since the development of the Heritage Village surrounding the arena for the Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition, tour operators have been increasingly taking cruise ship tourists there, to see the crafts on display as well as to take pictures of the Fort.

In the last two months, thanks to the efforts of the Fujairah Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Hamad Al Sharqi and the leadership of Sheikh Abdulla bin Saif Al Sharqi, a new hub for Fujairah tourism has been envisaged at the Fujairah Fort.

With the development of a heritage souq, a cafeteria, the displays of falcons, bull butting, Arab horses, sword skills and camel rides the people of Fujairah have begun to see a new and permanent way of catering for short-term visitors such as the thousands who visit the emirate each year by cruise ship. Much work still needs to be done to develop this site and the overall tourism concept.

Four Hour Tourism
The nature of cruise ship travel is that ships cover many coastal destinations but come into port for a night or just for a few hours. If cruise ship visitors to Fujairah are in town for a few hours, in addition to offering short mini-bus tours it may be preferable to develop the Fujairah Fort and Heritage Village as a one stop tourist destination where people get to experience some authentic Emirati culture and see sufficient glimpses of what Fujairah offers that they’ll want to make a longer return visit.

Middle East Has Potential to Become World’s Major Global Travel Hub, FIF, 13 December 2010.
Al Saif Competition Reaches Climax but Its Impact Will Last, FIF, 8 December 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: “The cruise ships to Fujairah are of different capacities but at an average of 2,500 passengers per ship, that represents a huge number of tourists and a whopping number of souvenir hunters that are looking for photo experiences to capture and Middle Eastern mementoes to take back home.”

Look at the logo on this cruise ship, ‘Coastal Village’: “See more, do more, be more.”

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Will Fujairah Become a Green City and Emirate?

In receiving the Green Globe certificate on behalf of Iberotel Miramar, the Area General Manager of Iberotel Hotels and Resorts, Mr. Ashraf Helmy said:

“It is an honour but it’s only the first step toward Fujairah becoming a Green Globe certified city.”

Mr. Helmy’s Miramar Hotel on Fujairah’s Al Aqah beach has gone through a comprehensive process to gain international recognition for environmental excellence but he is hoping that the entire city and emirate of Fujairah might begin the same journey.

Fujairah-Dibba Municipality Assistance
Mr. Hassan Salem El Yamahy, the manager of the Dibba Municipality was present at the award ceremony and Mr. Helmy paid tribute to the assistance that the Fujairah Government department had given to the Iberotel Miramar along the path to gaining Green Globe status.

When asked about the commitment of the Fujairah Government to environmental concerns Mr. Hassan Salem El Yamahy said that each new building or infrastructure project has environmental criteria that must be fulfilled before it can begin.

Fujairah a Green Globe Certified City?
Mr. Ramakrishna, a consultant representing Green Globe, explained that the standard criteria for a hotel or company to obtain this global recognition covers the areas of sustainable management, social and economic factors, cultural heritage and environmental concerns—in all a total of 339 criteria are looked at and a hotel or building needs to attain a minimum level of 51% compliance.

Mr Ramakrishna said:

“For a city [or Emirate] to be certified as a [Green Globe] ‘destination’, it would require similar criteria to be met as in the case of individual hotels. However, there would be several criteria which would not be applicable and many others that would be specific for a destination.”

Fujairah Starting the Journey
While individual new projects have environmental boxes that must be ticked in order to get the 'go ahead' from the government, there are city or emirate-wide concerns that Fujairah would need to embrace.

One first step in the journey for Fujairah would be to implement an emirate-wide recycling system for the management of its waste. At present householders put all their rubbish together into the rubbish skip and it is taken away for landfill.

The process of Fujairah city and emirate becoming a truly internationally recognized Green Destination would mean providing every residential precinct with separate receptacles to enable paper, plastic, glass, tin etc. to be recycled as is now the practice at the Iberotel Miramar (see photo).

This entire process might sound like a big cost for the city but as the Iberotel Miramar discovered, such a step and process leads to great savings.

Why Fujairah Should Go Green?
The ultimate reason for the city and emirate of Fujairah becoming a Green Globe certified destination was expressed well by Mr. Ashraf Helmy when he identified his own motivation for achieving the award:

“We have not taken these environmental actions to get certified but we have done it for the environment, for nature and for the wellbeing of our great, great grandchildren.”

Take a Look
Some pictures of the Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah, many of which illustrate the desire of the hotel resort to live in harmony with nature, are posted in this photo album.

Some pictures of the Green Globes Award ceremony are in this photo album.

Iberotel Miramar at Al Aqah Fujairah Achieves High Environmental Standards, FIF, 15 December 2010.
Iberotel Al Aqah Receives Prestigious Green Globe Award, FIF, 14 December 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: “The process of Fujairah city and emirate becoming a truly internationally recognized Green Destination would mean providing every residential precinct with separate receptacles to enable paper, plastic, glass, tin etc. to be recycled as is now the practice at the Iberotel Miramar.”

Lulu Fujairah Making Bread and Biscuits Fit for a King

The British expats who have discovered Lulu’s new line of bakery in Fujairah UAE are rejoicing and they’re thinking they are back home.

Lulu in Fujairah is one of four UAE outlets to begin offering the Cuisine Royale, which is the ‘Food, Fit for Kings’ range of European Premium bakery products that has been developed out of Ireland.

Last Monday (13 December 2010) Lulu Fujairah began making the artisan breads, pastries, cookies, brownies, muffins, donuts and other forms of traditional bakery and they have got a special Cuisine Royale stand along with guide books to take home.

These products may be more expensive than what the Lulu bakers have been cooking but when one considers that many Fujairah residents drive to Dubai to get bread from Spinneys or Carrefour, the price looks realistic for the quality ingredients and delicious recipes.

Take a Look
If you think you’re a king or queen, the booklet outlining the range of products from Lulu UAE with the current prices can be downloaded from this link.

Fujairah’s Lulu Hypermarket Developing into Shopping Mall, FIF, 15 June 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

$11m Christmas Tree in UAE Lights Up Religious Tolerance

Erecting an $11 million Christmas tree in the golden rotunda of the Emirates Palace might be an effective marketing campaign but it illumines some fascinating observations.

The “most expensive Xmas Tree ever” will put "the richest city in the world" up in lights and gain for the UAE yet another entry in the Guinness World Records.

Such an extravagant outpouring of wealth in the opulent Emirates Palace has little connection to the event that it symbolizes—one who was born into poverty in a crowded town where there was no room in the inn and whose first bed was a cow’s lunch box.

Christmas trees have become a popular tradition in Germany, the home of Emirates Palace General Manager, Hans Olbertz, but a sparkling pine tree has little relevance to the essence of Christmas.

If a Christmas tree in Abu Dhabi is needed why not make it culturally appropriate and dress up a tall date palm with Arabian pearls and gold?

One of the positive aspects of this 13 metre Christmas tree in the UAE’s capital is the prominent positioning of a world record-breaking Christian symbol in the most lavish palace of the capital of an Islamic country.

Many are thinking and some have asked whether such an act would offend religious sensibilities in the UAE where Islam is the major religion. Hans Olbertz does not think it would. “It’s a very liberal country,” he said.

In a country where traditionally it has been difficult for churches to publicise their existence and promote their activities, the giant Christmas tree might be a dubious religious symbol but it is lighting up a new chapter in religious tolerance.

Emirates Palace Erects $11m Christmas Tree, Emirates 24/7, 16 December 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Erecting an $11 million Christmas tree in the golden rotunda of the Emirates Palace might be an effective marketing campaign but it illumines some fascinating observations. (Photo courtesy of AFP)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Iberotel Miramar at Al Aqah Fujairah Achieves High Environmental Standards

Global Recognition
A media conference on Tuesday (14 December 2010) became an award ceremony and a celebration of the Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort achieving international recognition for its compliance with the highest environmental standards.

In gaining the Green Globe award the Iberotel Miramar at Fujairah’s Al Aqah beach became the first hotel on the UAE’s East Coast to receive this recognition and the first beach resort in the Emirates to gain this certification.

Receiving the certification on behalf of Iberotel Miramar, the Area General Manager of Iberotel Hotels and Resorts, Mr. Ashraf Helmy said:

“We have worked on this Green Globe Certification from the opening of the Miramar and to build and grow our hotel so it is in agreement with nature.”

Right Time?
Ashraf Helmy, who is also the Business Development Manager of Iberotel Hotels and Resorts, mentioned that the Miramar Green Globe Certification process took place during the global recession. He said that while on the surface this may not appear to have been a good step, in the long run achieving environmental compliance actually brings more savings than creating a great expense.

Ultimate Motivation
As he thanked the media and municipality representatives for their interest and attendance he shared his ultimate motivation:

“We have not taken these environmental actions to get certified but we have done it for the environment, for nature and for the wellbeing of our great, great grandchildren.”

What is Green Globe Certification?
Mr. Ramakrishna Bhadhya, a consultant with Avireal Middle East and the representive of Green Globe, congratulated Miramar and commended the manager on taking the initiative to getting certified.

He said:

“We appreciate this. Most of the time many hotels are taking sustainable initiatives but they do not seek certification.”

Environmental Audit
The Green Globe certification offers to businesses and hotels a step-by-step process. The certification gives objectivity and the weight of an external authority as it declares to the public that certain environmental standards have been attained.

It sends a signal of environment soundness in the same way that an audited statement beams the message of financial propriety.

Criteria Compliance
The Green Globe standard criteria cover the following areas:
+ Sustainable Management
+ Social and Economic
+ Cultural Heritage
+ Environmental

There are currently a total of 339 criteria and the hotel or any other facility has to comply with all the mandatory criteria and at least 51% of the applicable criteria to get certified. The applicable criteria may vary depending on the facility/hotel/business that is being certified. Mr. Ramakrishna explained that the Green Globe Certification is a global recognition of a building or a company’s commitment to the environment and sustainable living.

He said that the initiative was sparked in 1992 at a summit on green activities and the Green Globe certification process was established in 1993. It commenced in the Middle East two years ago and already there are 1,000 properties globally that have this certification.

Consultants and Volunteers
Asraf Helmy emphasized that the award was a result of teaming up with the Dibba Municipality and he stressed the important of government assistance.

He paid tribute to the contribution of Lukas Eigenmann of Farnek Services who had served as a valuable consultant throughout the process.

Later on a tour of the beach resort Helmy spoke of the vital role that his staff played in this exercise. They formed themselves into a group to work at compliance with environmental standards. Led by the Security Officer, Joshua, they came up with all sorts of innovative ideas and their service was completely voluntary.

Certainly it was evident that the General Manager had been the visionary, the driving force and the one who made this entire process happen.

No Resting on Laurels
Asraf Helmy indicated that the award was a first rather than a final step:

“We hope this is a first step with Miramar becoming the first hotel on the UAE’s East Coast to receive this recognition and the first beach resort in the Emirates to gain this certification.”

Regular audits must take place to maintain the international Green Globe rating so far from seeing the certification and award as the end, Ashraf Helmy sees this as the beginning of a new process for his hotel and he is keen to explore ways that Miramar might contribute further to the Fujairah environment.

Take a Look
Some pictures of the Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah, many of which illustrate the desire of the hotel resort to live in harmony with nature, are posted in this photo album.

Some pictures of the Green Globe Award ceremony are in this photo album.

Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Receives Prestigious Green Globe Award, FIF, 14 December 2010.

P O Box 5218
Al Aqah
Tel: +971 9 2449 994
Fax: +971 9 2449 995
Email: info@iberotel.ae
Web Site for Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: The Iberotel Miramar is well nestled into its environment as it is situated between the Hajar Mountains and the Arabian Sea.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Did Sheikh Mohammed Mean by Calling Fujairah ‘The Lungs of the UAE’?

By Many Names
Fujairah has been called An Arabian Jewel, the Hidden Gem and the quaint getaway of the UAE but this week, His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called Fujairah ‘the lungs of the UAE’.

What did he mean?

Refreshment Centre
The lungs play a pivotal role in drawing the breath that contains the vital oxygen into the blood and through all parts of the body.

Fujairah is the place that provides significant refreshment to people in the Emirates with its natural scenery, mountain playground, beautiful beaches and rich sea life.

Fujairah is increasingly a healthy and relaxing getaway location where tourists and UAE residents come to replenish their whole being, be pampered and get reinvigorated.

Remote and Invisible
How often has someone said to you, “You’ve got a beautiful pair of lungs?” While people get facelifts, implants and reductions for other parts of their anatomy, cosmetic surgery for lungs is rare. Lungs are functional and they don’t appear to have an aesthetic role. They are there to do the job.

Fujairah is not as prominent as other emirates and sometimes it seems hidden behind the vertebrae of the Hajars. But it is there playing an increasingly important role for the rest of the Emirates especially in boosting the power supply (oil, gas and electricity) to other parts of the country and beyond.

“As natural as breathing…” we say about human life, could equally apply to the unconscious role that Fujairah is playing in the region.

It is notable that Sheikh Mohammed did not call Fujairah “the appendix” which is an organ that can be removed and forgotten without affecting the life of the body.

While quietly doing their job, the lungs are nonetheless indispensable to the life and functioning of the body. We register their importance when saying that a newborn baby took her first breath or an old man took his final breath.

Fujairah goes about its essential business quietly and without trumpeting its achievements yet its presence would be noticed in an instance if it ceased to serve as a member of the United Arab Emirates.

As Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was affirming Fujairah’s importance to the UAE and the Gulf Region in announcing an allocation of the colossal sum of 4 billion AED from UAE revenues to fund 35 new infrastructure projects in the eastern emirate between 2011 and 2013. What a lung enhancement this is!

Hardy Yet Vulnerable
While the lungs go about their daily duties with regularity and with not much maintenance needed, they are susceptible to infection and life-threatening diseases like cancer.

The pristine beaches of Fujairah and coral treasures are amazing the way they recover from pollution and storms but to keep the coast and mountains providing life and replenishment, guarding against the pollution of the sea and atmosphere must be of paramount concern.

Hands, Shoulders, Knees…
If Fujairah is the lungs of the UAE, then what are the other parts of the UAE corpus?

Dubai could be the head, the face and the mouth with its high profile, strategic thinking and vocal forthrightness.

Abu Dhabi as the capital might well be regarded as the heart through which all decisions and resources flow.

Sharjah, the conservative emirate that strives to flush out the impurities might be the kidney.

And so on…

Why Sheikh Mohammed Visited Fujairah This Week, FIF, 8 October 2010.
Sheikh Mohammed Says the Whole UAE is Back, FIF, 27 September 2010.
Sheikh Mohammed on the United Arab Emirates, FIF, 31 August 2010.
Sheikh Mohammed Called ‘Sheikh Mo Mentum’ at the US Horse Racing Sales, ETE. More on Mohammed the Facebooking Twittering Sheikh of Dubai, UAE, ETE.
Make Sure to Connect with Sheikh Mohammed’s Correct Facebook Page, ETE. Sheikh Mohammed Gets Public Page on Facebook and Thousands of Fans, ETE. Sheikh Mohammed Showered With Birthday Greetings and Facebook Gifts, ETE. Connect With Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid on Facebook, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Gains Too Many Friends on Facebook, ETE.
Follow Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai on Twitter, ETE.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Judged One of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, ETE.
Poems Give Most Revealing Glimpse of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Hailed as Most Powerful in Horse Racing Industry, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Pays Record Price for Aussie Horse Racing Deal, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Ambitions for Middle East, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammad Models Rare Style of Leadership, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Leadership is Honoured, ETE.
New Website for H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ETE.
Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed on 60 Minutes Video, ETE.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Image: Sheikh Mohammed and other UAE leaders drawing refreshment from “the lungs of the UAE” as they play in the Fujairah waters in between business meetings. (Photo courtesy of the Media Office of His Highness)

Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Receives Prestigious Green Globe Award

Press Release
The Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort, the upmarket Moroccan-style property in Fujairah’s Resort District, was honored with the prestigious Green Globe award recently.

The award was received by the Area General Manger & Business Development Manager Iberotel Hotels and Resorts, Ashraf Helmy.

It was awarded in recognition of the property’s efforts in environmental best practices by an independently owned enterprise or hotel.

Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort is the first resort in UAE’s East coast to receive such an honor.

The award is given to hotels that measure their environmental impact and then develop and implement strategies to reduce those impacts thus achieving the desired outcomes for sustainable tourism. Since its inception, the Green Globe brand has represented the best in environmental responsibility. Green Globe is an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and is part owned by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Area General Manager & Business Development Manager Iberotel Hotels and Resorts, Ashraf Helmy said:

“We are highly honored and extremely happy to receive this award. It adds another feather to the cap of Iberotel Group by selecting one of our properties amongst all the other excellent international hotel chains in the UAE. We would like to share our experience with others in the region as well, as we believe it will encourage other properties in the country to implement such procedures in an effort to save the environment.”

Ashraf added all the properties of the Iberotel group are committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing the environment. “The group has strived to progressively reduce use of natural resources and recycle waste and this award will act as a further incentive in our efforts in this direction.”

Part of a progressive-oriented hospitality chain, Iberotel hotels rank among the best hotels in the world. Commitment, dedication and service drive its mission to offer guests a memorable experience they will cherish.

Iberotel Miramar at Al Aqah Fujairah Achieves High Environmental Standards (plus more photos of the Miramar Beach Resort), FIF, 15 December 2010.

Take a Look
Some photos from the award ceremony on 14 December 2010 can be found in this photo album.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Area General Manager & Business Development Manager Iberotel Hotels and Resorts, Ashraf Helmy, shares this celebration with Mr. Hassan Salem El Yamahy, the manager of the Dibba Municipality. On the left of Mr. Helmy is Lukas Eigenmann of Farnek Services which served as consultants to Miramar and on the far left is Ramakrishna Bhadhya a Consultant with Aireal and representative of Green Globe.

FAQ: Where Can I Learn Belly Dancing in Fujairah?

This is a frequently asked question in Fujairah, in fact, three people have asked in the last week.

Nataliya Sroka works at the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club.

She enjoys belly dancing and she teaches it.

When last I spoke to Nataliya, she said she teaches it twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday at 7.30pm.

Contact her through the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club:

Tel: +971 9 224 4880 Fax: +971 9 224 2040

Email: info@ftcc-sim.ae www.ftcc-sim.ae

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Fun and great for developing flexibility.

Taking a Taxi in and from Fujairah

Efficient and Safe
Sometimes questions from newcomers are asked about taking a taxi in Fujairah and occasionally stories surface from tourists about being taken by the driver on what seems to be an intentionally long route to reach their destination.

Fortunately these stories are rare and generally the taxi service in Fujairah operates efficiently and safely for driver and passengers alike.

Fujairah taxi fares are among the cheapest in the Emirates and do not incur the massive charges that Abu Dhabi taxis have applied when people are riding to big events.

Information Inside
The following notice should be posted on a sign window inside each of the gold coloured taxis:

The Taxi Service is regulated by the Fujairah Transport Corporation

Taxi Fare Chart
The fares are governed by meter in each taxi.
The starting fare is Dh3 [the cost is Dh10 in Sharjah and Dubai] and a Minimum Taxi Fare is Dh5 for a short distance in Fujairah.

The starting fare is Dh10 to go to other emirates from Fujairah.

First accumulated (10) waiting minutes= Free
Every additional waiting minute= 0.50 fils per minute.

Dh1 for every 750 meters travel.

For booking a taxi or making a complaint call (09) 2233533 [this is printed on the sides of the taxis

For comments and suggestions call (09) 2244889; (09) 2244411 [another number is written on the back of the taxis for the same purpose: 600 595555]

For safety fasten your safety belts

Trip is free of charge if meter not operated.

Any road tolls are to be borne by passenger

Your children are safer if riding in the rear seat

Don’t forget the Taxi No. and ask for a receipt

Smoking strictly prohibited in taxi.

1. The poster states Don’t forget the Taxi No. in case you need to make a complaint.

2. If you are feeling vulnerable, note down the number on the number plate of the car before you get in, write down the taxi number when you get in (also written on the back and side near the back doors) and have the booking and complaints phone numbers added to the directory of your mobile phone.

3. In Fujairah you only have to pay the amount stated on the meter which is the Start fare added to the rate clocked up by the distance. This is different from some Indian cities where you are charged double what the meter says, presumably so the driver is given the rupees to get back to the starting point.

4. If your taxi goes through the emirate of Sharjah (as happens to and from the Dubai International Airport) there is an extra 25 AED or so for travelling through Sharjah roads.

5. The majority of the 700 taxi drivers in Fujairah come from Pakistan (speaking Urdu and Pasto) or Bangladesh (speaking Bengali). Most have a basic knowledge of English and if they have been here for a while they have a basic working of Arabic.

In case you are not making yourself understood here are some basic phrases in Arabic that you might need:

Go! Yalla or Go! Go!: Yalla! Yalla!

You rarely need to ask Fujairah taxi drivers to speed up. Before speed cameras were installed, taxis on the road to Dubai would sometimes hit 160kph or more (in a 120kph zone) so the phrase most often needed (with emphasis and a feeling of concern) is Shway! Shway! Slowly. Slowly.

(Turn) Left is Yasser as in Yasser Arafat.

(Turn) Right is Yamine as in Ya Mean old thing.

Stop is waa-ggaf.

6. Most of the taxi drivers in Fujairah are Muslims who seek to pray five times a day. If you are travelling a long distance (e.g. Fujairah to Dubai) and it happens to be during a prayer time don’t be alarmed if the driver asks you if it is OK for him to stop (for salah—prayer) at a mosque or on the side of the road. You can say Yes or No depending on how pressing it is for you to get to your destination.

7. If you are living in Fujairah for a while it is good to get your own taxi driver or more than one because your regular driver might be out of the emirate when you need to travel. Ask around for recommendations.

If you’re happy with the service ask the driver for his business card (many of them have cards) or for his phone number and name. This is handy especially when you need to get a taxi ride to the airport early in the morning or late at night.

Taxi fares Increase in Fujairah UAE, FIF, 25 October 2010.
Going by Taxi in Fujairah UAE, FIF, 20 October 2010.
Fujairah Taxis, FIF, 13 August 2008.
Taxis in Dubai, Fujairah and Other Emirates, Experiencing the Emirates, 13 August 2008.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: A gold-coloured Fujairah taxi outside Choitram's Supermarket in the main street.