Sharjah tourist numbers up 11 pc in Q1
Date Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012
AL NOMAN HAILS VIBRANCY AND POTENTIAL OF TOURISM SECTOR,,EMIRATE’S HOTELS REPORT 78 PC OCCUPANCY IN FIRST QUARTER
International travellers continue to pour into Sharjah as the Arab and Islamic capital of culture registered a significant 11 per cent increase in tourist numbers during the first quarter of Year 2012--from January to March. This came in the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority’s Statistics Report for the first quarter unveiled today by the Chairman, HE Mohamed Ali Al Noman, at the Arabian Travel Market here in Dubai.
The first quarter statistics show a significant increase in hotel occupancy rate touching 78 per cent, compared with 75 per cent in the same period last year. The number of hotel and hotel apartment guests during the first quarter of 2012 stood at 466,218 compared with 421,516 in the same period last year, which is an 11 per cent increase. The total number of hotel and hotel apartment room nights in the first quarter of this year, stands at 539,393 as compared to 478,456 in the same period last year.
This puts the total occupancy rate of hotels and hotel apartments in the emirate at 78 per cent during the first quarter after the recent addition of new hotels and hotel rooms over the past few months.
While the number of hotels in the emirate now stands at 47 with a total number of hotel rooms reaching 5,191, there are 53 hotel apartments with 3,825 rooms. With the emirate now boasting 100 hotels and hotel apartments with a total number of room capacity of 9,015, the first quarter saw an increase of 5 per cent in accommodation capacity.
Interestingly, Western visitors continue to dominate the tourist flow into the emirate known for its grand monuments and breathtaking landscape. With 171,600 European tourists visiting the emirate in the first quarter of 2012, they accounted for 37 per cent of the number of foreign tourists -- 466,218 -- visiting Sharjah in the period under review. The GCC citizens were not far behind with 166,525 or 36 per cent of them visiting Sharjah in the first quarter. Other Arab travellers stood at 56,698 or 12 per cent.
The Asian tourists also accounted for 12 per cent with 56,153 of them visiting the emirate. They were followed by 8,240 Americans – 2 per cent – and 4,998 Africans—1 per cent. There were 2,004 visitors from the Asia Pacific region too.
SCTDA Chairman Al Noman said that the statistics once again demonstrate the vibrancy and potential of Sharjah’s tourism sector, and its ability to maintain steady growth while it expands to new markets. “We are trying to create an attractive tourist environment by pursuing a long term strategy and with the help of our various popular culture and tourism festivals. We are constantly trying to reach out to new markets around the world by presenting Sharjah at international exhibitions and events like ITB where we once again won the Best Middle East Exhibitor award,” said Al Noman. “On the other hand, events like the Sharjah Light Festival celebrated across the emirate attracted thousands of visitors. This year, we also hosted the first H20 Nations Cup Powerboat championship in Khorfakkan with an attempt to attract attention to the East Coast.”
He said that the SCTDA has also been working with other public and private players to promote Sharjah. He hailed the recently opened Al Majaz Waterfront project that has changed the face of Khalid Lagoon and the Buheirah Corniche enhancing their aesthetic elegance. He also welcomed the Kalba ecotourism project unveiled by Shurooq at the ATM on Tuesday saying projects like this were part of the emirate’s plan to promote environment tourism and it would turn the spotlight on the undiscovered beauty of Kalba and Sharjah’s East Coast.
He said the SCTDA supported all public and private initiatives that promoted Sharjah and contributed to its economy and identity. Al Noman said Sharjah’s participation in the ATM this year has been remarkable and managed to attract the attention to the ambitious tourism projects in the emirate and diverse and rich options and services offered to international travellers.