Sharjah spotlight on local tourist attractions in WTM 2019

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) participated in the World Travel Market (WTM) in London for the 17th consecutive year as part of its intensified campaign to promote Sharjah’s diverse and unique tourist offerings on the world stage.

TT Bureau

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) participated in World Travel Market (WTM) held in London from November 4-6, 2019. During the event, SCTDA showcased a range of attractions that makes Sharjah one of the region’s favourite family destinations on the world map today. In cooperation with its partners from the public and private sectors, the Authority also promoted tourism programmes and initiatives designed to attract tourists to the emirate; cultural and ecotourism products; a wide range of sports, recreational and artistic activities; and adventure packages capable of delivering an enhanced tourist experience.

Sharjah is known for its rich heritage, history, and unique cultural diversity and is an ideal tourism destination that offers multiple tourist attractions, each of which has different characteristics and offerings. The central region, for instance, is known for its stunning desert, offering adventure lovers with an opportunity to enjoy its sand and towering dunes while riding on SUVs. The eastern region, on the other hand, has beautiful terrains, exciting mountain adventures, historical sites, and museums. Moreover, the emirate hosts many popular events, festivals and exhibitions.

SCTDA highlighted Sharjah’s entertainment, cultural, and heritage programmes and activities organised by various organisations apart from exclusive tourist packages provided by major tourist facilities, resorts, and hotels. The number of hotel facilities in Sharjah has remarkably increased over the past few years due to growing tourist arrivals to the emirate.

The emirate currently has a total of 10,883 hotel rooms, with hotel establishments in the emirate offering world-class services that meet expectations. An additional 18 hotels and 16 hotel apartments are expected to be completed over the next five years, with a total of 5,679 rooms to be added to the current number in the coming years. The event also provided SCTDA with an international venue to promote Sharjah’s most prominent historical sites, museums, exhibitions, festivals, and technology-driven projects such as Smart Mirror, Sharjah Boat, and the Virtual Reality experience.

H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said, “WTM 2019 allowed us to raise awareness about Sharjah’s growing tourism sector. It enabled us to put Sharjah on the world tourism map and entice more tourists worldwide, including travellers from the UK, Ireland, and other parts of Europe, thus bringing us closer to our goal of attracting 10 million visitors by 2021. In 2018, more than 578,000 European visitors travelled to Sharjah, up 24 per cent from the previous year, which reached 468,034, and we look forward to increasing the numbers further in the coming years.”

The Authority will also put the spotlight on its recently launched apps designed to boost the emirate’s hospitality and tourism industry. These include the AI Tour Guide Chatbot, Smart Hotel Licensing and Classification, Smart Vehicle Permit System, and the Hotel Statistics System Business Intelligence (HSS – BI) solution.

H.E. Al Midfa concluded, “Our participation at the WTM is part of our response to the directive of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to make Sharjah a global touristic destination. The local tourism sector, one of the vital economic sectors, has witnessed steady growth and development. During the event, we had an opportunity to see the latest trends in the global tourism sector, showcasing Sharjah’s beauty and offerings such as events, festivals, and exhibitions, meet and exchange experiences with decision-
makers, and learn about the latest practices in tourism, hospitality, and travel.”

SCTDA recently launched the Shj AI Guide to enhance the experience of both residents and visitors. The unique easy-to-use application is designed to help visitors from around the world. The application acts as a comprehensive and interactive tourist guide, providing all users with the latest information and details about local destinations, leisure activities, restaurants, and hotel facilities. It is available in five languages, namely Arabic, English, German, Chinese, and Russian. Shj AI Guide can be downloaded on Apple Store and Google Play.

SCTDA headed Sharjah’s delegation comprising leading entities from the government and private sectors. The government delegates were Sharjah International Airport Authority; Sharjah Museums Authority; Environment & Protected Areas Authority; Shurooq; Sharjah Expo Centre; and Sharjah Institute for Heritage. Participants from the private sector were Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA); Sheraton Sharjah Beach & Resort; Hilton Sharjah; Sharjah Collection; TravTalk; Hotel Holiday International; Cozmo Travel LLC and Golden Sands Sharjah.

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