SHARJAH- The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has commenced the second phase of the Flag Island development which aims to turn the island into a new tourist destination that offers a varied facilities and amenities. The new facilities will be open to public in the first quarter of 2015.
Upon completion of the second phase, the island will feature varied recreational facilities and amenities, including an open-air 1000-seat amphitheatre, an art gallery, and a range of shops, restaurants, and cafes through which Shurooq is keen to provide a vibrant and alluring destination that caters to the needs and preferences of surrounding residents and visitors, alike. The island is strategically located at a walking distance from the downtown and from the most visited places by residents and tourists throughout the year.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, said that the launch of the works on the second phase of the Flag Island development comes in response to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and in line with Shurooq’s commitment to go forward in developing new projects and managing the existing destinations in Sharjah to serve the interests of citizens and residents, alike, and to boost the Emirate and the UAE’s position as a destination of choice for residents and tourists.
She added: “We are planning to position the Flag Island as one of the must-visit tourist, cultural and art destinations on the Emirate and UAE’s tourist map, as the island is home to a national symbol represented by the flagpole on which the UAE flag is flying, in addition to the permanent exhibition of the union’s achievements, the quality of new facilities we are going to develop, and the cultural, art and national activities which will be hosted in the island throughout the year.”
Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Public Works, said that the department is willing to be involved in development of the leisure and tourist destinations, developed by Shurooq and other government entities in the Emirate, with the aim of keeping pace with the social and economic development in Sharjah, provided that commitment to highlight the national and Islamic identity is embodied in these projects.
He added: “We are constantly striving to be part of a development process that aims to meet the future needs of the Emirate’s residents and visitors. Flag Island is one of the destinations that drew a great deal of attention since its opening in 2012. The second phase will provide more facilities to enable the destination attract visitors and instill the national values into their hearts”.
The open amphitheatre at the Flag Island can accommodate 200 spectators, with an additional capacity of up to 1000 spectators on national, social, cultural and art days and celebrations. The island will be in position to host such activities and to provide fully equipped venues, including an art gallery to host various art exhibitions and attract artists and art aficionados from the Emirate and the entire region.
His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, opened Flag Island in December 2012 during the celebrations of the UAE’s 41st National Day. The island is being developed by Shurooq in collaboration with Sharjah Department of Public Works and a number of government bodies and departments. The 123 metre-high flagpole on Flag Island is considered to be the world’s 7th tallest flagpole, through which Shurooq intended to foster national identity and sense of belonging to the UAE.
Flag Island has a diameter of 65 metres and boasts a unique location near Al Khan area’s hotels, central souqs and other specialised markets in the district. Located in close proximity to Al Khan Corniche, Al Mamzar Corniche, Al Qasba and Government Department’s compound, Flag Island includes green spaces and neatly coloured pavements, in addition to spacious parking slots for over 200 cars, with additional parking spaces nearby.
The Flag Island project is one of the fastest projects developed by Shurooq. The first phase was completed in a span of 4 weeks, including the development of the island and the construction of the flagpole. The second phase is scheduled for completion in 9-12 months.
Established in 2009, Shurooq strives to encourage investment in the emirate of Sharjah by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. Shurooq’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, evaluate tourism and investment related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.
In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 – FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region, in The European’s Global Banking and Finance Awards.