The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) revealed that last year, the emirate welcomed 1,738,543 hotel guests, with revenue totaling $172.36 million.
The emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments witnessed healthy occupancy rates of 65 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.
With regards to markets, last year visitors from Russia, the Commonwealth and the Baltics region posted a 41 per cent growth compared to 2017, while tourists from Africa increased by four per cent. Russian visitors increased their market share to 23 per cent from 15 per cent in 2017 and China maintained its market share of seven per cent.
The top five nationalities who travelled to the emirate in 2018 were Russia, the Commonwealth and the Baltics (392,691 visitors); Omanis (145,413 visitors); Chinese (122,328 visitors); Saudis (117,074 visitors); and Indians (113,300 visitors).
Marking a first, SCTDA spurred interest in Sharjah among Indonesian, Malaysian, German and Singaporean markets through roadshows to promote the emirate, while promotional campaigns were organised to attract more visitors from Scandinavia, Northern Europe and the Far East.
As for developments, new hotels launched last year to make room for the growing number of tourists to Sharjah, including the five-star Al Bait Hotel and Four Points by Sheraton Sharjah. More hotels are scheduled to inaugurated in Q3, including Sharjah’s beachfront Anantara Resort; Novotel Expo Hotel Sharjah; Four Points by Sheraton Sharjah; and Pullman Hotel Sharjah.
Other new developments reshaping Sharjah’s tourism industry include the eco-friendly Kalba Kingfisher Lodge and Al Faya Lodge, and a new tourism portal entitled VisitSharjah.com.
Chairman, SCTDA, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa declared: “The Sharjah Government’s vision is to attract 10 million visitors by 2021, in time for the UAE’s 50th founding anniversary. Thanks to the unlimited efforts and the cooperation of all partners with us, we have already achieved at least 70 per cent of this vision, which is the equivalent of seven million visitors who have come to Sharjah. This number is divided into leading exhibitions, events, museums visitors and tourists through the Sharjah International Airport—a quality focused achievement that we are proud of and has also inspired us to continue moving forward.”
Al Midfa continued: “The continuing efforts to improve and enhance the tourism sector plays a large and important role in helping achieve the objectives of this vision. Moreover, the positive performance of the local tourism sector is an important addition to successful achievements of Sharjah, which has also been named World Book Capital 2019 by the Director-General of UNESCO.
“Our progress and successive achievements continue to inspire us further to double our efforts according to the standards of excellence and leadership. We are looking forward to bolstering the entire UAE tourism industry in support of the country’s economic diversification policies,” he concluded.