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Al Midfa (SCTDA) says exciting times and opportunities ahead for Sharjah’s tourism sector

The European visitors once again took the lion’s share at 37%, closely followed by GCC tourists at 34%. Visitors from Asia contributed 13% to Sharjah’s tourism market while visitors from other Arab states constituted 12%.

SHARJAH – These are exciting times for Sharjah. The Emirate today boasts one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world with world-class tourism infrastructure and services, directly contributing to the nation’s economy. A number of new hospitality and tourism projects are coming up in the Emirate, adding to Sharjah’s tourism infrastructure of world-class luxury hotels, beach resorts and business tourism facilities that attract international visitors, said HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

This came in Al Midfa’s speech at a special presentation for hotel industry on the ‘Sharjah Tourism Hospitality Statistics Results and Enhancement of Sharjah Hotel Establishments’ Classification System’ at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday (October 1).

Addressing leaders and representatives of hotel industry and tourism sector on the occasion, Al Midfa emphasised that the consistent growth and success being witnessed by Sharjah’s tourism sector would not have been possible without the guidance of the Emirate’s visionary leadership and support of industry partners. This has been the outcome of years of relentless collective efforts by public and private sector players, he said.

“The Authority has been working closely with industry partners to constantly upgrade and improve both infrastructure and services. We have a number of new projects and initiatives coming up on this front,” he added.

On this occasion, the Director General announced that the SCTDA is set to introduce a new and modern classification system for hotel establishments in the Emirate in accordance with highest international standards. It is aimed at embracing healthy and modern tourism practices besides simplifying procedures and providing timely and accurate performance analysis.

“New rules will follow clearly defined goals and ensure transparency and healthy competition in the tourism market. All this will help add value to Sharjah’s tourism product making the Emirate one of the biggest and most popular tourism destinations in the world,” he said.

Al Midfa pointed out the tourism sector in the Emirate has witnessed consistent growth over the past few years with a visible surge in international visitor numbers and investments.

“Last year, the Emirate received more than 1.9 million international tourists, maintaining its growth trajectory of the past few years. In the first half of this year, Sharjah welcomed more than 1,099,877 tourists, which is a remarkable 15 per cent jump over the same period last year when 955,355 tourists visited the Emirate.”

The European visitors once again took the lion’s share at 37%, closely followed by GCC tourists at 34%. Visitors from Asia contributed 13% to Sharjah’s tourism market while visitors from other Arab states constituted 12%. Two per cent of Sharjah’s international tourists in the first half came from America with Africa and Asia Pacific contributing 1% each.  

The average occupancy rate in the Emirate’s hotel establishments in the H1 was a healthy 74% while the average occupancy rate in the same period last year stood at 70%. Sharjah’s hotels received 696,058 guests or 63% of visitor numbers while hotel apartments received 403,819 guests or 37% share. The total hotel establishment guest nights in the first half stands at 1,817,416 as against 1,753,866 during the same period last year.

Expressing his satisfaction over the industry performance, Al Midfa said: “These are healthy and encouraging results. This being the Year of Sharjah’s celebration as the Islamic Culture Capital, we are confident that the overall outlook for 2014 will be even more robust. Indeed, the future belongs to Sharjah. The Emirate is increasingly recognised around the world for its distinct Arab and Islamic heritage, colourful calendar of events and festivals and a very diverse tourism landscape.”

With Arab states getting all set to crown Sharjah as the Arab Tourism Capital next year, 2015 promises to be the year of Sharjah all over again. A host of exciting, special events and activities are being planned throughout the year by the SCTDA and other Sharjah government agencies and partners to celebrate the honour.

“The spotlight will once again be on Sharjah and the wholesome tourism experience for the whole family it has always offered to visitors from far and near. Over the past couple of years we have conducted hugely successful road shows in the region and across the world in Europe, Asia and America. The SCTDA has been showcasing the unique Sharjah tourism experience at major industry events and exhibitions,” said Al Midfa emphasising these efforts are aimed at bringing more international visitors and investors to the Emirate. Exciting times are ahead which throw up great opportunities as well as challenges before us.

The Director General concluded by calling for greater collective efforts and cooperation by all stakeholders in times ahead: “As the Emirate enters this new, exciting phase of growth, we, public and private sector stakeholders, will need to work even more closely with each other to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.