The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has introduced a new hotel classification system in an effort to improve quality standards, offer consumers more choice and so to help boost overall tourism industry growth. The new classification updates the criteria introduced in 2008, which falls under the Sharjah Hotel Classification and Licensing Law.
According to HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, SCTDA Director General, the introduction of the new hotel classification system was timely, since Sharjah has a number of new hotels and tourism projects planned. The SCTDA expects 30 new hotels to open in the emirate over the next three years adding some 4,000 new hotel rooms to Sharjah’s existing capacity of 10,000 hotel rooms. The new hotel classification criteria were developed in close consultation with the emirate’s hotel sector.
Sharjah’s tourism industry has undergone strong growth during the past year and the SCTDA expects two million tourists to visit Sharjah by the end of 2014. More than one million tourists (1,099,877) were already registered visiting the emirate during the first six months of the year, showing a 15 percent increase in numbers compared with 2013.
Sharjah hotels had an average of 74 percent occupancy rate during the first six months of 2014, while resort hotels enjoyed a higher 80 percent average occupancy during the same period. The total number of hotel guest nights in the first half of 2014 was 1,817,416 compared with 1,753,866 during the same period last year.
The emirate currently has 50 hotels and 56 hotel apartments. With global brands such as Hilton and Radisson already represented, there are a number of new 4-star, 5-star hotel and resort property projects are already in progress. Starwood Hotels & Resorts will open a 5-star Sheraton and a 4-star Four Points hotel in 2015, whilst Accor is expected to open a new 4-star 200 room Novotel Sharjah Expo by the first quarter of 2017.
Sharjah’s tourism industry has benefited from being named Islamic Culture Capital for 2014 and growth is expected to continue into 2015, which will be Sharjah’s year as the Capital of Arab Tourism.
Source: SCTDA, media