Fujairah is the forgotten airport of the Middle East, more so even than Sharjah, which despite its short distance from Dubai International, just 24 km away, manages to host over 11 million passengers a year, and Ras Al Khaimah.
Fujairah, an emirate of 200,000 people on the Gulf of Oman, part of the Indian Ocean (and the only one), is well-known for its glamorous cement, stone crushing and mining industries, and its comprehensive social housing provision. Employment opportunities are almost entirely controlled by the government – few entrepreneurs open businesses there, and the government prohibits foreigners from owning more than 49% of one, though that is pretty much the same as in Dubai, but neither can foreigners buy land. It might as well be on a different planet from the City of Gold and nearby Abu Dhabi, which props Fujairah up with federal grants.
Fujairah does have some things going for it. There is a successful Free Trade Zone, based on the one at Jebel Ali in Dubai, and a small but thriving port which also harbours a global-scale fuel bunkering facility, while the emirate’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, is committed to making the most of what Fujairah offers, and is focused on major tourism projects featuring five-star hotels.