Sharjah’s tourism resort business had a busy start to 2014, with 180,000 tourists registering at beach hotels and resorts during the first half of the year. According to the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), beach hotels enjoyed a record 80% average occupancy during the period January to June 2014.
Sharjah views tourism as a strategic pillar of the emirate’s economy and has invested in developing the sector’s infrastructure and tourism numbers. The government expects two million tourists to visit Sharjah emirate by the end of 2014, driven by overseas tourist visitors.
European tourists formed the largest segment of beach hotel and resort guests during the first half of this year, followed by tourists from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Sharjah is hosting several special events and activities during the summer months to help grow the number of Sharjah tourist attractions available during the summer holiday season.
According to the SCTDA, hotel revenues are expected to increase 10% this year, in line with the expected 10 percent increase in tourist visitors to Sharjah compared to 2013. The SCTDA expects 30 new hotels to be opened in Sharjah during the next three years, adding 4,000 rooms to the emirate’s current capacity of 10,000 hotel rooms.
Tourism has been given an additional boost this year after Sharjah was voted Islamic Culture Capital for 2014 and the government has invested some AED 1.5 billion (USD 408 million) in 21 related projects concerning Islam heritage, culture, education and tourism.
Meanwhile, Sharjah’s tourism sector is also preparing for 2015, when Sharjah will be the Capital of Arab Tourism, as voted by the council of Arab tourism ministers.
Source: SCTDA, Shurooq