Al Midfa: GCC constitutes top market for Sharjah tourism with emirate’s hotels receiving nearly half million guests in 2014
Date Published: Monday, May 25, 2015 Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) concluded its participation in a promotional tour to the Gulf capitals, organised by the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities under the slogan, “#VisitUAE”. The SCTDA’s participation in the tour was aimed at promoting Sharjah’s ambitious tourism plans under the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021. The National Council of Tourism and Antiquities organised the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tour to promote the latest developments in the UAE tourism sector, and showcase the offerings specially designed for the GCC markets. The tour, held from May 17 to 21, covered the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait. SCTDA participated in a series of workshops in the three Gulf cities during which the Authority highlighted the emirate's efforts to strengthen its position as a leading family tourism destination. In each city and in front of more than 150 representatives and decision maker in each city from the GCC travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, the SCTDA showcased its unique programmes and initiatives, including plans to organise the Sharjah International Family Tourism Conference, as well as the recently launched ‘Marhabtain’ initiative aimed at developing human capabilities in Sharjah’s tourism sector. The Authority also highlighted its innovative approach to tourism through smart services and solutions delivered via smartphone apps, virtual reality, and other innovative platforms. Commenting on the participation, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA, said the GCC constitutes the top market for Sharjah tourism with 477,639 guests staying in Sharjah’s hotels in 2014, registering a 10 per cent increase over the year 2013 when the emirate received 434,130 hotel guests. HE Al Midfa said the Authority is keen to participate in tours under the umbrella of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities and promote Sharjah’s international festivals that add diversity to Sharjah’s cultural product and tourism offering for GCC visitors, ranging from museums, universities, and cultural hubs, to recreational facilities, shopping malls as well as high-end hotels and family activities. HE Al Midfa added that Sharjah has a common traditional bonding with GCC countries but at the same time maintains a distinct cultural and heritage identity that offers the GCC tourists a rich product, including the Heart of Sharjah area and a number of museums and heritage centres. Referring to the Al Manzel hotel, which is currently under construction, HE Al Midfa said the hotel’s opening will offer a remarkable heritage experience for the visitors. Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, the body responsible for tourism sector development and to promote its attractions, recently launched Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which aims to attract 10 million tourists by 2012 by focusing on four main pillars - Ideal Family Tourism Destination, Innovative Tourism Approach, World Class Tourism Facilities and Capabilities, and International Cultural Hub - to strengthen the status of the emirate as a leading destination for family tourism.