Sharjah registers 8 per cent growth in tourist inflow

The European tourists accounted for 42 per cent of the total tourist arrivals in Sharjah during 2010

SHARJAH - Sharjah registered a remarkable 8 per cent growth in international tourist flow into the emirate, according to statistics released by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).
The SCTDA statistics, released in December 2010, show an increase in the occupancy rate of the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments. Hotels in the emirate registered an 8 per cent rise in the occupancy rate attracting 1,556,885 guests in Year 2010 as compared to 1,447,934 guests in 2009.
Sharjah’s hotels received 774,651 guests in 2009 and 748,677 in 2008 whereas hotel apartments had recorded 782,234 guests in 2009 and 699,257 in 2008.
The report confirmed an increase in the number of guests in the emirate with 73 per cent hotel occupancy compared to 69 per cent in 2009 whereas hotel apartments recorded 70 per cent occupancy compared to 64 per cent in 2009. While the overall percentage of hotels and hotel apartments in the emirate was 69 per cent in 2009, recording a 6 per cent growth.
The European tourists accounted for 42 per cent of the total tourist arrivals in Sharjah during 2010 while GCC tourists accounted for 24 per cent of the total number of tourists who visited the emirate. Tourists from Asian countries accounted for17 per cent, while tourists from other Arab countries accounted for 12 per cent. Tourists from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Pacific region made up five per cent of visitors.
The total number of room nights in Sharjah's hotels and hotel apartments rose to 1,537,765 in 2010, with hotel room nights accounting for 806,401 and hotel apartment nights accounting for 731,364. This can be compared to 1,462,165 room nights in 2009 with 790,000 hotel rooms and 671,265 hotel apartment rooms, a 5 per cent increase from 2009.
Commenting on the statistics, Mohamed A. Al Noman, Director General of the SCTDA, said that amid of the global crisis and the economic changes in the region, the Authority is keen to have prominent participation of the emirate in the international exhibitions following strategies to hit International tourism market and do whatever is possible to get the best results.
“The growth and development process in the tourism sector has been made possible because of the efforts of all departments and officials, driving the growth of the sector to highest level. Since its inception, the SCTDA has spared no effort in developing tourism and commerce sectors in the emirate,” Al Noman said.
Discussing the Authority’s activities in 2010, he added, “The SCTDA has been taking part in different local, regional and international events that help it immensely in promoting the emirate. The SCTDA made strong and distinguished appearances at a number of international platforms last year, including its biggest and most prestigious participation in the International Tourism Bourse Berlin where it was crowned the Best Arab World Exhibitor. Besides, we have regularly taken part in the World Travel Market, London and Arabian Travel Market, Dubai.
He referred to numerous festivals organised and hosted by Sharjah all through the year saying we have successfully organised and hosted a number of international festivals. U.I.M. F1H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2010 and the Sharjah Water Festival are some of the most prominent events that had great effect on the tourist flow into the emirate. Sharjah Light Festival, the first of its kind in the Middle East, organized by the SCTDA beginning of 2011 highlighted the emirate’s cultural and heritage touristic features in a spellbound extravaganza.
The SCTDA Director General paid rich tribute to the emirate’s natural beauty and its family, cultural, heritage and historic diversity, emphasizing Sharjah has achieved great successes in promoting its tourism and commercial potential on the local, regional and international levels. “We are looking forward to future events and excitements hoping for more successes and growth of the emirate,” Al Noman said.
The number of hotels and hotel apartments in Sharjah touched 107 (45 hotels and 62 hotel apartments) with an increase in the number of rooms that reached the 8,585 mark (4,661 hotel rooms and 3,924 hotel apartment rooms).
The SCTDA has been working since 1997 to promote the emirate of Sharjah as a complete family, touristic, cultural and heritage destination, by putting long-term strategies buttressing the emirate’s position on the world tourism map.