Trade, investment and tourism from India have become a top priority for Sharjah, as its trade promotion organisations campaign widely to capitalise on growing interest in the emirate. Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) and Hamriyah Free Zone both launched new marketing roadshows targeting India during the past few days, building on a busy year of promotion activities by Sharjah authorities.
The SCTDA kicked off a four-city roadshow in Mumbai this week, which also visits New Delhi, Chandigarh and Bengaluru (Bangalore). The roadshow introduces seven Sharjah hotels, two destination management companies, plus leading budget carrier Air Arabia, to key Indian outbound tour operators and other industry contacts.
Meanwhile, a delegation from Hamriyah Free Zone, headed by Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone), met with business leaders in Delhi a few days ago. Further meetings for the delegation are scheduled for today in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat, and in Mumbai on 22 October.
Hamriyah Free Zone and SAIF Zone have both organised an extensive calendar of trade and investment promotion campaigns in India this year, visiting all major commercial centres in the country. Benefits such as 100 percent ownership, tax exemptions and allowing companies to repatriate 100 percent capital and profits have made the free zones very popular with Indian businesses. According to official estimates, about 7,000 of the 15,000 companies operating out of the two free zones are owned and controlled by Indian investors.
Sharjah’s efforts to drum up business from the subcontinent have been reciprocated by Indian chamber of commerce and trade mission visits to the emirate. Growing trade and investment links with India were also the focus of a high profile panel session at last month’s Sharjah FDI Forum 2016, organised by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and the Financial Times.
Sharjah-headquartered Air Arabia currently operates flights between Sharjah and 13 destinations throughout India, while Indian airlines have added new direct flights to Sharjah from various Indian cities this year. Kochi-headquartered Air India Express added a new route connecting Chandigarh and Sharjah this month and competitor Jet Airways will begin a new daily service from Kozhikode (Calicut) in Kerala on 30 October 2016.
According to the Sharjah tourism authority, India has emerged as the fourth largest market for global visitors to Sharjah during the first half of 2016, climbing from the 8th/9th position in 2014’s tourist statistics.
Source: HFZA, SAIF Zone, SCTDA