Sharjah tourism sector grows in H1, set for exceptional season

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Khalid Jasim Al Midfa speaks during the annual hotelier meeting in Sharjah on Thursday.

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) affirmed that the emirate’s tourism and hospitality sector has witnessed significant growth in the past year and that the launch of mega tourism facilities and projects during the pandemic reflects the strength and resilience of Sharjah economy and reinforces Sharjah’s status as a prominent international tourism destination.

The first half of 2022 witnessed tremendous growth and expansion compared to the same period in 2021, the Authority announced during its annual hotelier meeting on Thursday at the Sheraton Sharjah Resort & Spa. The event brought together owners, operators and employees of hotel establishments and was held in the presence of Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, Sheikh Salem Bin Mohammed Bin Salem Al Qasimi, Director of SCTDA, officials and directors of various SCTDA’s departments, and media representatives.

The Authority stated that figures for the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year reveal that the tourism and hospitality sector has registered a 12 per cent increase (626,000) in the number of hotel guests, in addition to an occupancy touching 66 per cent, representing a growth of nearly11 per cent.

SCTDA revealed that earnings from hotels amounted to more than Dhs200 million in the first half of the year, showing a 50 per cent increase in the same period in 2021. Sharjah hotels also registered a 46 per cent growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to touch Dhs136, driven by an average daily rate (ADR) growth of around 20 per cent at nearly Dhs202.

According to statistics revealed by SCTDA, the emirate has more than 100 hotel establishments with around 10,000 rooms. These include 5-star hotels numbering 12 and comprising 950+ rooms; 4-star hotels numbering 20 and comprising 2,300+ rooms; and 33 hotels ranging between one and three stars, comprising 2,400+ rooms, in addition to 39 hotel-apartment facilities with 2,000+ rooms.

SCTDA also revealed that the emirate witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of GCC tourists during 2022, attributing this rise to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across the UAE. The Authority said that with 55,200+ hotels guests from Oman, the emirate witnessed an almost 10-fold increase in the number of Omani guests in the first half of 2022 compared to slightly more than 5,900 guests in the same period in 2021. Sharjah also registered 31,500+ hotels’s guests from Saudi Arabia, compared to 7,000+ Saudi guests in 2021 during the same period. Meanwhile, the number of Russian hotels’ guests touched nearly 56,000 and Sharjah received around 75,600 guests from India during the first half of 2022.

SCTDA officials pointed out during the meeting that the promising statistics highlight the strength and competitiveness of Sharjah’s tourism sector, which is paving the way for further developments in the emirate’s tourism standards to bolster its status as an international tourism destination.

In his keynote speech, Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA stressed that the launch of several key tourism facilities and projects in the emirate during the past few years is a clear indicator of the strength and resilience of Sharjah economy which aligns with its plans and strategies to bolster Sharjah’s status as an international tourism destination.

He added: “Diversity is one of the unique characteristics that distinguishes Sharjah, especially in its tourism offerings. From entertainment and events to culture, arts, adventures, and eco-tourism, among others, Sharjah provides a wide range of comprehensive attractions that provide the hospitality sector with significant opportunities for growth.” The SCTDA Chairman pointed out that the multiple strengths of the emirate’s tourism sector has led to a high volume of tourists in various cities and regions across the emirate, and that entities must unite to seize the opportunities this growth represents to further develop the hospitality sector and its allied services and facilities and collectively bolster the emirate’s leading position on the international tourism map.

For his part, Ahmed Obaid Al Tunaiji, Manager of the Tourism Standards Department at SCTDA, said: “Tourism is not an economic activity isolated from other sectors. When we talk about the sector that is an all-important pillar of the economy of Sharjah, tourism is at the forefront of all leading sectors with promising sustainable growth.”

He added: “Through this meeting, we aim to develop more tourist attractions, explore new opportunities and advance the emirate’s hotel facilities to a competitive level that elevates Sharjah’s share in the global tourism market. Our continuous meetings with representatives of international travel and tourism agencies have yielded positive results and benefited the sector while our presence at major international events serve as platforms in attracting potential visitors to the emirate.”

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