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Sharjah Attracts Over 18000 Qatari Tourists In 2008

As part of its efforts to encourage regional tourist activities and strengthen tourist ties among GCC countries, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), in association with representatives of the emirate’s tourism sector, is organizing a delegation that will soon embark on Sharjah’s 8th promotional Road Show in the GCC.

The road show which is intended to promote Sharjah’s unique tourist attractions and attract more GCC tourists to the emirate - will take place from 7 to 17 April 2009, and will include five major GCC destinations: Doha, Kuwait, Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah.

In addition to the SCTDA, the Sharjah delegation includes senior representatives from the Sharjah Museums Department, Air Arabia, Sharjah Millennium Hotel, Golden Tulip Hotel, Radisson SAS Resort, Verona Resort and Marbella Resort.

The Sharjah delegation’s first stop on the road show was Qatar, where the Authority organised a special workshop in Doha in the presence of Qatari media and for representatives of Qatar’s largest tourism and travel companies. The latter were keen to be updated on the latest tourist offerings in the emirate of Sharjah, which has become a favoured tourist destination for Qatari families, attracting 18,466 Qatari tourists in 2008.

This GCC road show is the result of outstanding cooperation between concerned parties in Sharjah’s tourism sector. It will include workshops in Kuwait and three destinations in the KSA starting with the Eastern region, then Riyadh and finally Jeddah. The road show directly precedes the imminent launch of the Sharjah Summer Promotion 2009, which will include special discounts, prizes and offers to encourage shopping activity during the summer.

The current promotional tour has special importance as it comes at a time of major changes and challenges that require tremendous cooperative efforts to lure more tourists to the emirate. The Authority is keen to intensify marketing and promotional activities for Sharjah to further boost the emirate’s leading position on the regional and global tourism map. These campaigns will focus on highlighting the emirate’s status as a world-class destination for heritage, cultural and family tourism, combining its distinctive attractions to form a unique tourist destination that blends a historical setting and cultural significance with all the features of a modern city.

The SCTDA is endeavouring to push the wheels of economic growth forward, in line with the fast growth witnessed in the tourism sector. The number of hotel facilities in the emirate has increased to 103 (37 hotels and 66 hotel apartments) with 8,000 hotel rooms. The emirate received 1.5 million visitors in 2008, a significant increase from 600,000 visitors in 2001. And 27 percent of these tourists or 398,186 are from GCC countries.

These figures prove the vital importance of these tourism markets and justify the tremendous efforts exerted by the SCTDA on these markets and the host of tourist promotions and products offered by the authority for the GCC tourists.

Recent statistics issued by SCTDA show that European tourists accounted for 35 percent of the total tourist influx into the emirate in 2008, with GCC tourists accounting for 27 percent, and other Arab countries accounting for 12 percent. Asian tourists made up 23 percent, while American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, African and Pacific tourists made up the remaining 3 percent.

At a time when the emirate of Sharjah is being recognized as a favoured destination on the world tourism map, the SCTDA is putting more initiatives that will boost this leading position take at the top of its schedule. To this end, the Authority is actively involved in taking part in and organizing a number of prestigious events, all of which have gained global exposure. This Gulf promotional road show is an initiative that will create further opportunities for the emirate of Sharjah to showcase its tourist attractions. The SCTDA is building on the success it has experienced in the GCC road show over the past 7 years.

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