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18 per cent rise in visitor number in July

Tourists return to Sharjah in big numbers this summer

International tourists are once again flocking to Sharjah in extraordinary numbers this summer.  The month of July, the peak of summer vacation in the Gulf and elsewhere, witnessed a remarkable 18 per cent rise in visitor numbers to the emirate. Sharjah’s hotels received 141,484 guests in July as against 120,301 patrons during the same period last year. During the long Ramadan and Eid break, the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartment attracted more than 90,000 guests. A total number of 106,168 room nights were recorded by hotels and hotel apartments.
This year, the GCC visitors stood at 43 per cent – 60,317 tourists – during July 2011. They were closely followed by the Europeans (37 per cent) with some 52,678 people visiting the emirate.  Visitors from other countries across the Middle East formed 8 per cent (11,143) whereas the number of Asian visitors stood at 11 per cent (14,925).

There was an extraordinary 25 per cent increase in hotel and hotel apartment room nights, a standard method of evaluating hotel occupancy, from 121,670 last July to 152,588 this July. Overall hotel and hotel apartment occupancy rate also shot up from 69 per cent during the same period last year to 74 per cent this July registering a growth of 7 per cent.

As in the past, Sharjah was the centre of attraction during the Ramadan and Eid season with the emirate lining up several special events and programmes to cater to the visitors from across the region and beyond. The Ramadan and Eid Fair 2011 at the Sharjah Expo Centre alone attracted more than 139,000 visitors. Al Qasba was another favourite of visitors during Ramadaniat al Qasba festival and Eid celebrations.  There were other attractions such as plays by the Sharjah Theatres Group and special events by the Sharjah Museums Department, not to mention numerous promotions by various malls and souqs and departments of the Sharjah government.
Commenting on the positive performance of the tourism sector during July and Ramadan-Eid period, SCTDA Director General Mohamed A. Al Noman said the statistics are a testament to the unique nature of Sharjah and its enduring charm for all kind of visitors.
Sharjah has been continually attracting visitors from around the world in growing numbers, recording a surge in tourist numbers in the first half of Year 2011. A total of 768,061 tourists visited the emirate with hotels and hotel apartments recording 75 per cent occupancy in the first six months of the current year, according to statistics released by the SCTDA earlier this month.

Al Noman said that the SCTDA’s efforts and strategy to promote Sharjah as a complete holiday destination for the entire family are showing results and discerning tourists from across the globe are flocking to the emirate in large numbers.

With its rich Arab-Islamic heritage and Emirati traditions, its numerous family fun, sports and entertainment facilities, malls and souqs and its world class modern infrastructure and security, Sharjah presents itself as a complete holiday destination for all sorts and categories of international tourists, emphasised Al Noman. “Sharjah attracts both the East and the West and European travellers as well as Gulf and Middle East visitors,” he said. From the Sharjah Water Festival to the Sharjah Light Festival and from Sharjah Biennial to International Book Fair, not to mention the great shopping opportunities it offers and its great outdoors and beaches, the emirate offers something for everyone.