Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) revealed that the emirate recorded a 3% growth in the number of hotel guests in 2019 as compared to 2018. The sector welcomed approximately 1.8 mn guests last year with a hotel occupancy rate of 66 per cent. In terms of nationalities, guests from the Russian Federation topped the list, followed by GCC countries.
Continuous tourism inflows
H.E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said that the emirate witnessed robust inflows of tourists throughout last year, thanks
to the emirate’s major achievements in terms of the launch of new recreational facilities, tourism initiatives and related activities.
Al Midfa noted that by the end of 2019, the emirate had more than 10,000 hotel rooms, comprising 1,331 rooms in nine 5-star hotels; 2,733 rooms in 21 4-star hotels; as well as 31 in one to three-star hotels; and 2,485 apartments in 40 hotel apartment facilities. Furthermore, six new 5-star and 4-star hotels were inaugurated last year, and more than seven new hotel projects are expected to be unveiled in 2020.
Tourism projects & initiatives
As part of its continued efforts to promote tourism, attract more tourists and visitors, and boost the emirate’s tourism competitiveness, SCTDA launched a package of innovative services last year. These include the ‘Smart Mirror’ and the ‘AI Tour Guide Chatbot’.
Furthermore, the ‘Hotel Statistics System -Business Intelligence’ (HSS–BI) solution’ provides hotels with access to real-time guest data and statistics. The ‘Smart Vehicle Permit System’ service enables tourism agencies to finalise registration procedures, pay the fees and
print-out permits within a few minutes.
The most notable environmental projects are the Al Faya Retreat, Al Badayer
Retreat, Kingfisher Retreat, and Al Rafisah Dam Rest Area. With the recent inauguration of Buhais Geological Park, Sharjah is also placing great emphasis on the development of adventure tourism.
Promotional campaigns & tourism related activities
Through 2019, SCTDA conducted several promotional campaigns with the aim of attracting ever greater numbers of tourists and visitors
to the emirate. In addition, the Authority participated in various international exhibitions and conferences inside and outside the UAE. Thanks to these efforts, SCTDA was able to launch into new markets such as the Nordic Countries, through its participation at the MATKA Nordic Travel Fair. In terms of recreational and tourism activities, SCTDA organised the
famed Sharjah Light Festival in 2019, attracting over 1.2 million visitors.
“Moving forward, we are planning to develop tourism experiences and attractions to enrich our visitors’ experiences and provide them with exceptional services that will make them return to Sharjah. Great focus has also been placed on familiarising audiences with our tourism activities, attractions and events in addition to highlighting adventure tourism and the new chain hotel brands by running promotional and advertising campaigns,” Al Midfa concluded.