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Sharjah Tourism To Reinforce Its Place In The Business Travel Market At GIBTM 2009

Al Noman: "Sharjah has so much to offer the business traveller. We are here to put that message across loud and clear"

Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) is making a big push to attract more business travel to the emirate at the Gulf Incentive Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM 2009), which opens today at the National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Abu Dhabi.

Event planners, conference and exhibition organisers, as well as incentive travel buyers from around the world have descended on the exhibition, as ever, looking for new opportunities, venues and ideas. Such a concentration of organisers and senior buyers makes this an ideal forum for the SCTDA to exchange ideas, renew existing acquaintances and develop new business opportunities. Business travel is a fast growing industry in the region, particularly incentive travel for which Sharjah is ideally suited.

Speaking from Sharjah’s stand, Mohamed A. Al Noman, Director General of SCTDA, said:
“Following our successful participation in last year’s event, we saw a 15% increase in business travel to Sharjah. Notwithstanding the current economic climate, we believe we can maintain, if not grow, our market share. Clearly, cost will continue to be the biggest factor on buyers’ agendas, particularly as budgets are pared down, but we have a competitive product in every respect and, we believe, that little bit extra to offer in terms of tourism assets.

“Our hotel and accommodation facilities have an overall occupancy of 85%. We have a selection of venues that are well able to manage even the larger events and our hoteliers and conference facility providers are more than happy to deal with agents, companies and organisers direct”.

Expo Centre Sharjah, the emirate’s leading venue, offers more than 1,300 square metres of prime conference facilities and has the capacity to accommodate up to 350 delegates. The hall is fully equipped with standard audio-visual aids, professional light and sound systems and two integral simultaneous translation channels. The Centre also has four exhibition halls arranged over some 1,600 square metres, which can hold some 450 delegates. This makes it the ideal venue for small and medium size conferences, seminars and workshops.

Al Noman continued; “We pride ourselves on the high quality of service offered throughout the emirate, which we are enhancing all the time. Our latest initiative, to provide fully trained and authorised tour guides, is just one example of our drive to ensure that visitors are given a complete package and enjoy a truly memorable experience. As ‘the city of culture’, Sharjah has so much to offer the business traveller. We are here to put that message across loud and clear”.

According to The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism industry in UAE overall is expected to earn 170 billion AED in revenues by 2016. The UAE has been ranked 38th out of 174 countries despite the fact that the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the Country’s GDP remains relatively low at 1.1 percent (5.4 billion AED). However, it is predicted to rise possibly to Dh.13.6 billion (1.4 percent) by the year 2016. The travel and tourism sector is expected to grow in value to 62 billion AED by 2016, when capital investment in the industry is estimated to reach 55.2 billion AED.

Among Sharjah’s delegation at GIBTM 2009 are a number of travel and tourism agencies, who will be looking for inbound as well as outbound opportunities, both regional and international. The emirate has a strong client base, covering both service and manufacturing industries, and statistics show that there is considerable interest from buyers in doing business with Sharjah.

Over the next three days, the SCTDA will be working hard to ensure that as many visitors to GIBTM 2009 as possible are made fully aware of everything Sharjah has to offer the business tourism market.


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