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Sharjah’s Tourism Sector Proves Resilient Amidst Economic Crisis

Al Qassimi: decline in hotel occupancy rates normal and necessary

Sharjah, UAE, March 11, 2009: Sheik Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) said that the impact of the global economic crisis on Sharjah’s tourism sector since the beginning of the year has been slight, as evidenced by the SCTDA’s statistical report issued at the end of January, proving the resilience of the emirate’s tourism sector.

The report showed only a slight decline in the emirate’s tourism sector, with hotel occupancy rates falling by 15 percent in January 2009, as compared to the corresponding period of 2008.

In a statement made on the sidelines of the SCTDA’s participation in the International Tourism Bourse (ITB), being held in Berlin from 11 to 15 March 2009, Al Qassimi said: “The declining demand for Sharjah’s hotels is normal, and we are doing our best to stimulate the hotel sector in order to achieve the expected growth this year, a growth that will be positively reflected in the tourism sector in the emirate”.

“This year has seen a decline in the emirate’s hotel rates as a result of the ongoing global economic crisis. The decline is normal, as there has been an urgent need to correct the unreasonable 50 to 200 percent increase in hotel rates seen in the last three years in order to deal with the crisis in a more pragmatic way.”

“The SCTDA’s recently finalized promotional strategy for 2009 includes a number of necessary tools to support the tourism sector in the emirate amidst the economic crisis and worldwide challenges, and such planning will ensure continuous tourist inflow into the emirate and unsuspended development activities on the various tourist facilities projects,” Al Qassimi added.

Speaking of the public sector projects being developed in the emirate, Al Qassimi said that the SCTDA is working under the prudent directives of H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. “The growth achieved in the emirate’s various sectors, including the tourism sector, can be attributed mainly to his advanced vision and wise leadership.”

The UAE has one of the world’s most successful models in the tourism sector, and Sharjah has been always committed to making a significant contribution to the UAE’s growth in the tourism sector.


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