Local Business

Sharjah welcomes 1.3m hotel guests

Staff Report/Sharjah
Filed on November 15, 2016
Sharjah welcomes 1.3m hotel guests
During the first nine months of this year Sharjah's travel sector generated Dh497 million in revenues. - Supplied photo

Hotels and hotel apartments across Sharjah welcomed a combined 1.3 million guests during January-September 2016, latest data shows.

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), which released the statistics, said 1,318,748 guests spent a total of 2,943,106 nights in the emirate's hospitality facilities during the first three quarters of 2016, reflecting a 19 per cent increase from the 2,482,721 nights spent in Sharjah in the same period in 2015. Overall occupancy rates remained firm at 62 per cent during first nine months of 2016.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, chairman of SCTDA, said Sharjah's travel and tourism sector has been scoring impressive results since the beginning of this year.

"As Sharjah aims to achieve its ambitious targets of 10 million visitors by 2021 it is confident that all the markers are showing good growth. During the first nine months of this year Sharjah's travel sector generated Dh497 million in revenues, pointing to the success of our efforts to bolster the sector and, subsequently, the emirate's economy," Al Midfa said. The GCC region remains a key market segment for Sharjah showing the success of the campaigns run throughout this region reflected through the fluctuations and increases as a direct result of the marketing activities during the first nine months of 2016.

"The GCC region maintained its position at the top of our list of source markets as a result of good connectivity among other factors. However, the emirate has witnessed a significant increase from a diversity of markets representing our strategy focus," Al Midfa said.

"Sharjah stands out with its tourism offering, that combines culture, entertainment, and shopping to create a truly remarkable experience for everyone that visits," he added.

Sharjah has 105 hospitality facilities with more due to open this year. It offers an interesting mix of international brands and boutique hotels, which are spread equally between city and beaches.

Europe remains the fifth most important market to the region. New contracts signed at World Travel Market in London this year suggest that the predicted 16 per cent increase in this market will start to show shortly. The biggest growth market for Sharjah continues to come from China; in the first nine months of 2016, Sharjah welcomed 62,936 Chinese visitors - a staggering 75 per cent growth from the 35,928 guests welcomed during same period in 2015. Work will continue in China to further double this number by this time next year. There is considerable scope there and this market will undoubtedly continue to deliver results while the Emirate looks to establish other serious source markets.

On the same note, Sharjah witnessed a 12 per cent growth in the number of Pakistani visitors. It is reassuring to see recovery in the traditional Russian markets with tourism showing an 8.7 per cent increase which is the first real positive measure of growth since the rubble devalued.

- muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

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