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Like many other emirates within the UAE, Sharjah has been improving its portfolio in the global tourism industry to enhance region’s ratings to a favorite tourist destination. Neighboring Dubai has done extremely well in tourism and other emirates are looking to emulate its success within their own contexts. Shurooq was founded as a part of Sharjah’s plan to improve performance in the tourism sector. Therefore, this paper will be looking at the quality standards of Shurooq’s public relations and media with an aim of finding any recommendations that might help an organization to achieve its goals and objectives more efficiently. This research proposal presents information about Shurooq and its role in the UAE tourism, its SWOT analysis and relevant course learning outcomes (CLOs). Additionally, given proposal suggests research questions and methodology that will be used to carry out the study.
The Tourism Industry
UAE, like other Gulf countries, continues to rely heavily on the oil and gas industry for their economic stability. Considering growing public concern over carbon emissions, most people are shifting their preferences towards clean energy alternatives that do not usually associate with the burning of fossil fuels. Moreover, in light of the plummeting oil prices, the UAE government has launched an initiative that will wean the country off oil revenue (Diaa, 2016). Consequently, despite globally growing demand for energy, the market for oil and gas is likely to dwindle significantly in the future. In order to secure the economy, nations within the Gulf are looking to diversify their tourism successfully, which prove the best alternative revenue source in the region so far. Business tourism, medical tourism or simply recreational tourism, Dubai has proven that the states of the Persian Gulf can make a lot of money regardless of oil and gas industry. Therefore, tourism is very important in the region. However, communication is a key of a credible tourist destination. Currently, most people know only Dubai out of all the emirates of the UAE. Consequently, this means that Sharjah will have to go an extra mile with their communication and public relations if the emirate aims to achieve as much recognition as their neighboring resort.
The Sharjah investment and development authority (Shurooq) is an organization under the government of Sharjah responsible for selling the emirate as a great tourist destination using social media and other public relations mechanisms. This organization was formed after the government of Sharjah started shifting the focus of the economy towards tourism in order to compete actively with other countries in the region. In the recent past, an organization enforced a social media policy, which explained the use of the social media and other public relations tactics to market the region as a tourist destination (Shurooq, 2016). It can be noted that the government of Sharjah will be directly competing with other successful players in the tourism industry within the Middle East and beyond. This demonstrates the extent to which Shurooq has been investing in the online platforms to spread the message across the globe.
Passionate leaders – The leaders believe in the potential of the emirate’s tourism sector and thus, they serve an inspiration for the rest of the staff members.
Positive perception in the society – An organization has already strived to create a positive perception in the society hence gaining the support of the local populations on the project.
Effective staff – An organization has also hired young and enthusiastic people to work on the team maximizing their chances of success. Moreover, young staff also ensures proficiency in the use of technology.
Good funding – An organization has full financial support of the government and a good access to funding upon request
Global promotion – The Emirate of Sharjah, over the past few months, has capitalized on global promotion to raise awareness and earn recognition. However, it is not as popular as Dubai yet.
Absence of strategic direction – The goal may be defined but an organization is not moving in any particular strategic direction.
No indicators and metrics for monitoring performance – This makes it impossible for an organization to measure their progress if any.
Poor talent management – Most of the staff members are not even in the right job positions in terms of their skill sets.
Iran sanctions – These imply less competition from the strong nation.
Good geographic location – Sharjah is a gateway from both Europe and the Far East, which makes it a favorable spot for trade and tourism (Karolak, 2015).
Sustainable energy – The region is already responding to the growing demand for sustainable energy.
Regional instability – Especially from Iraq and Iran that might tarnish global perception among other nations.
Stiff competition – From Dubai and other emirates that have better infrastructure, namely, roads, airports and hotels.
Decline in oil and gas market prices – The emirate currently depends on the oil and gas industry and this decline will affect their economy significantly.
Poor infrastructure – Competing destinations have better roads, airports and accommodation facilities as well as malls and shopping centers that attract the tourists.
- CLO 5- Recommend quality management system approaches to improve organization’s performance.
- CLO 1- Outline fundamental changes in marketing operations taking place in today’s business organizations.
- CLO - Appraise the role of branding, innovation, integrated marketing communications and customer relationships etc. for creating customer value.
This research will look at the quality standards applied in Shurooq’s public relations and social media communications aiming to establish efficacy of these standards and any potential improvements that can be made. Therefore, a research question is designed as follows: “what quality standards have been applied in Shurooq’s public relations and social media communications?” First objective is to identify the quality standards that an organization has applied to their public relations and social media communications. Second objective is to establish how these quality standards influence organizational goals and objectives. Third objective is to find any potential room for improvement that an organization should consider if it aims to succeed in promoting the emirate as a tourist destination and effectively compete with Dubai and other popular destinations in the region and beyond.
Given research will follow a qualitative approach combining interviews and surveys as primary research tools with organizational databases and internet platforms as secondary sources of data collection. The interviews will be conducted with the employees from Shurooq while the surveys will be distributed among the members of the public, who may have encountered organization’s communications about tourism in the region. Secondary data will be mostly used to explore the details of the quality standards and how they influence an organization in question.
Today, tourism is an important industry within the Persian Gulf region and the quality standards of public relations and social media communications are pivotal in getting the Emirate of Sharjah on the market. Therefore, besides looking at the implemented quality standards this research will also seek to highlight opportunities for improvement to help the emirate compete fairly with Dubai and other popular destinations. Given research will apply a qualitative approach utilizing both primary and secondary sources of data collection.
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