Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority participated at Arabian Travel Market for the 20th year and recorded a signiﬁcant milestone of attendance. It is also upbeat about the latest guest night returns according to which hotels in Sharjah are reporting higher occupancy in the ﬁrst quarter against last year.
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority has created a strong brand presence in the main areas and witnessed a good vibe with the new stand design, taking elements from its award winning design at ITB Berlin. The Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority, H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, said, “We always enjoy attending ATM in part because it is a show right at our doorstep, but mainly because it always opens the door to new possibilities and opportunities from new innovations, to new markets and of course the hope of the potential, as new companies pass by with ideas. It is an opportunity to reacquaint with friends and as a member of the UNWTO Ministers’ panel to present and position Sharjah’s message clearly and strongly to a key audience.”
Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority is targeting a 12 per cent growth in GCC tourism ﬁgures for 2017, after success at the recent Riyadh Travel Fair at the beginning of the month, the Arabian Travel Market is the next step in achieving this strategic move in its overall growth.
The Middle East was highlighted as the main growth region for tourism with a particular emphasis on the United Arab Emirates. Sharjah attracted huge footfall thanks to its entrance branding and design and additional elements of the new pavilion.
Al Midfa further mentioned “As the visitors enter the main ATM atrium, they are instantly encouraged to “Explore More” of Sharjah with a new focus being given to Sharjah as it creates a new positioning strategy for itself in outdoor tourism. Sharjah offers a huge diversity in its landscape stretching from the East Coast to the West Coast with mountains, wadis, desert and of course beaches for visitors to enjoy. Through the work of the Environmental Protection Areas Authority who are also participating at the ATM with Sharjah Tourism there are great facilities for the family to enjoy, where you can see rare animals in their natural habitats such as the Arabian Leopard in Al Hefaiyah or migratory birds visiting the ancient salt ﬂats at Wasit Wetlands Centre. Presenting Sharjah as an outdoor tourism destination seems sensible,” said Al Midfa.
He adds, “Most people who enjoy desert activities take part in them in Sharjah, this year we will start to regulate these to ensure the safety of everyone and the preservation of the fragile ecosystem found in the dunes”
The new addition to Kalba with the high-end eco lodges further exempliﬁes the positioning, the lodges were recently launched and are another exciting proposition that we feel sure will encourage further outdoor tourism in Sharjah. Kalba is an undeveloped hamlet on the East Coast and has beautiful mangroves which are home to the critically endangered Arabian Collared Kingﬁsher.
This year the economic upturn and the strong presence created by the Tourism Authority has meant that the delegation attending with the Authority is particularly strong, with representation from Sharjah International Airport, The Sharjah Museums Department, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Knowledge without borders, Beha’a The Sharjah Environment Company, Auras Tours, Coral Beach Resort Sharjah, Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort & Spa / Hotel Holiday International / Marbella Resort, Ramada Hotel, Royal Tulip the Act Hotel, SATA, Sheraton Sharjah Beach & Resort, Al Khalidiah, Radisson Blu, Hilton hotel, Al Majaz Premier, Aryana, Al Shaab Village, COZMO, Golden Tulip, Air Arabia, Trav Talk and Breeze Tourism.
SCTA joins the UNWTO Ministerial Forum at ATM On the opening day of ATM, the UNWTO and the Arabian Travel Market hosted a ministerial forum on tourism’s contribution to sustainable and inclusive economic growth and diversiﬁcation in the MENA region. Ministers and senior leaders from nine countries took part in the forum which was chaired by CNN’s Becky Anderson. The ministers came from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Tunisia, and the UAE as well as Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah to debate the agenda items.
The Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa who was speaking as part of the forum said, “It is an honour to present Sharjah in a discussion at this level. This event is extremely important not just because we can discuss best practice with our colleagues from other countries in the region who are all facing similar challenges and of course celebrating their own successes; but it also important that forums at this level spotlight the importance of the whole tourism infrastructure. This year the UNWTO has chosen “Sustainability” in all its forms for its focus. Sustainability is so important to the tourism industry, and it is particularly important that the key decision makers are enabled through the use of all possible technologies to make the correct decision for all our futures. As leaders of tourism destinations we are only the guardians of our natural assets for our future generations and it is important at we all focus on sustainability so that we can honour the trust that is placed on us.”
Other areas of innovation include the Tourism Satellite Account, this TSA provides the Authority with up to date information and measures tourisms results through providing the factual data on economic performance across the board, including oil related and non-related GDP. The Chairman stressed that the impact of tourism on Sharjah should not be underestimated as it currently contributed 8 per cent to the GDP.