Sharjah’s tourism industry is currently experiencing a boom. In the first half of this year, according to the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, local hospitality sector revenues were up 7.8% when compared to the previous year, as the emirate pushes towards its target of 10 million annual visitors by 2021.Ahmed AlKhoshaibi, the chief executive officer of ARADA — which recently announced a new deal with Minor hotels to bring the Anantara brand to Sharjah — commented that tourism in this emirate is being driven by several factors, including increased government spending, new hotels that are being developed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) around the emirate, and the steady capacity growth of Sharjah International Airport, aided by the new routes that Air Arabia is currently rolling out. For example, the emirate is planning to open a luxury lodge near Mleiha, where fossils of marine animals from millions of years ago can be found. The Fossil Rock Lodge — which is set to open in the first quarter of 2018 – will offer accommodation to intrepid explorers wanting to make the most of the UAE’s natural environment. It is one of a number of recent leisure offerings from Shurooq. In September, Shurooq reported that its upcoming projects were almost complete with Al Bait Hotel 70% developed and Fossil Rock Lodge 60% complete — these projects, collectively known as the Sharjah Collection, are all set to be managed by the Mantis Collection. The first phase of the Sharjah Collection portfolio of projects comprises four key developments: Kingfisher Lodge in Kalba as part of the Kalba Eco-tourism project; Al Badayer Oasis at Al Badayer desert; Bait Khalid bin Ibrahim in Heart of Sharjah; and the Fossil Rock Lodge at the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project. Read the full article here.