Sharjah registered a 15 percent increase in tourist numbers during the first half of 2014, with more than one million tourists staying in the emirate compared with 955,355 tourists during the same period last year, according to new figures announced by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).
According to the SCTDA, Sharjah’s hotels enjoyed an average 74 per cent occupancy rate during the first six months of 2014. Sharjah hotels recorded 1,817,416 guest nights during H1, including 110,621 guest nights recorded at hotels and 711,206 guest nights recorded at hotel apartments. The authority also stated that results showed a 6% increase in the guest nights in hotels during the low season, indicating that 2014 could return very positive growth figures.
Sharjah expects two million tourists to visit the emirate by the end of 2014, driven by overseas tourist visitors. The government has invested heavily in developing the sector’s infrastructure and tourism numbers and views tourism as a strategic pillar of the emirate’s economy.
European tourists visited Sharjah in the largest numbers this year, with 409,578 European visitors being received during in the first half of 2014, accounting for 37 per cent of the total number of tourists. Russian tourists formed 25 per cent of the total number of European visitors.
Sharjah also proved popular with tourists from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), receiving 369,485 GCC visitors or 34 per cent of the total. About 13 percent of tourists were from Asia and 12 per cent from other Arab countries, while nationals from the Americas, Africa and the Pacific accounted for a total of 5 per cent.
The SCTDA announced figures for Sharjah’s resort sector in August, showing that 180,000 tourists registered at beach hotels and resorts during the first half of the year, with a record 80% average occupancy during the period January to June 2014.
The total number of hotel facilities in Sharjah stands at 106 (50 hotels and 56 hotel apartments), with a total of 10,000 hotel rooms. The SCTDA expects 4,000 additional hotel rooms to be added over the next three years as 30 new hotels are expected to open in the emirate.
Tourism was given a boost this year after Sharjah was named Islamic Culture Capital for 2014 and the tourism sector’s future is expected to be bright with 2015 marking Sharjah’s year as the Capital of Arab Tourism, as voted by the council of Arab tourism ministers.
Source: SCTDA, media