• Al Midfa: Sharjah’s hotels report 130% increase in number of Chinese guests and 19% rise in Asian guests in 2014
Date Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Sharjah will come under the spotlight as a popular destination for tourists from China as Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) leads the Emirate’s participation in the upcoming China Outbound Tourism and Travel Market (COTTM) exhibition from April 14 to 16 in Beijing, for the second year in a row. Sharjah’s participation in the specialised international exhibition that attracts global industry stakeholders is especially significant this year considering that the Emirate is celebrating its recognition as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015. The strong delegation to COTTM Beijing 2015 includes representatives from 14 entities from the pubic as well as private sectors in the emirate’s tourism and hospitality sectors, including Sharjah National Hotels, Hilton, Al Shaab Village, Radisson Blu, Arabianlink Tours, Cozmo Travel, Copthorne Sharjah, Golden Tulip, Sheraton Sharjah Resort & Spa, Coral Beach Hotel, SATA, Sharjah Museums Department, and Ramada Sharjah. Commenting on Sharjah’s participation in the COTTM Beijing 2015, H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA, said: “Sharjah’s successful participation at COTTM Beijing last year helped strengthen its position in the Chinese tourism market and enhanced its relations with the Chinese and Asian stakeholders. We look forward to welcoming more tourists from China this year as we celebrate Sharjah’s recognition as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015.” Sharjah has emerged as a major destination for tourists from China due to its safe and secure environment, family friendly atmosphere, wide selection of hotels, and its cultural offerings. In view of the growing visitor numbers from China, Air Arabia recently started services to Urumqi, the largest city in Western China. Highlighting the growing Chinese interest in Sharjah, H.E. Al Midfa stated that Sharjah’s hotels received more than 35,000 Chinese guests during the year 2014, registering an increase of over 130 per cent against the 2013 figures when the emirate received 15,000 Chinese guests. The number of Chinese guests in Sharjah constituted 1.8 per cent of total number of international guests received during the year 2014, a 124 per cent jump over 2013 when they accounted for 0.8 per cent. The number of Asian guests of diverse nationalities in the Emirate’s hotels also grew from 13.4 per cent to 15.9 per cent, highlighting the positive impact of SCTDA’s participation in prominent exhibitions in the Chinese tourism market. The SCTDA Director General said that COTTM Beijing has opened a new window for Sharjah to the Asian markets, which have emerged as the most promising outbound tourism market in the world. Tourists from the Asian market are increasingly attracted to the Middle East because of its rich history, culture and a plethora of leisure and entertainment options, including luxury hotels and facilities. The number of visitors from Asian countries to Sharjah registered sustained growth in the past few years with hotels in the Emirate recording 19 per cent increase in the number of Asian guests. Sharjah received more than 313,000 Asian guests in 2014 as against more than 263,000 in 2013, added H.E. Al Midfa. The Sharjah pavilion at the COTTM Beijing will be a blend of tradition and modernity and draw attention to the Emirate’s celebrations over the winning of the Arab Tourism Capital Award for 2015, a recognition Sharjah earned on the basis of its cultural diversity, heritage and distinct tourism experience. Visitors to the pavilion will be provided brochures and promotional literature, both in Chinese and English, offering insight into Sharjah’s diverse tourism offerings and various festivals and events that make it an ideal destination for Chinese and Asian tourists. China is one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world accounting for more than 98 million outbound tourists who spent more than $128 billion, according to a study by the China Tourism Academy. It is expected that this figure will grow this year by 15 per cent to reach 114 million outbound trips leading to $140 billion travel spends. The Chinese share of global outbound expenditure is set to rise from 1 per cent in 2005 to 20 per cent in 2023, according to Oxford Economics. COTTM Beijing is one of the most popular and specialised exhibitions showcasing the best of travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. In its tenth year, it attracted more than 400 exhibitors from 65 countries and more than 3,000 investors, industry leaders and visitors receiving wide media coverage.