10 percent growth in GCC tourist traffic to Sharjah expected this year

18th April 2009 (WAM) The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced the successful completion of its recent GCC Road Show that was designed to showcase this year’s Summer Promotions in Sharjah and to increase GCC tourism to the Emirate of Sharjah. The road show ran from April 7-17 2009.

The announcement came in Jeddah after their final road show. Jeddah KSA was the third destination for the Sharjah delegation in KSA, where it has organized successful workshops for representatives of key travel and tourism agencies in three major cities: the Eastern region, Riyadh and Jeddah. Sharjah saw a 10 percent increase in the number of Saudi tourists visiting the emirate in 2008, bringing the total to 105,000, with a further 10 percent growth expected by the SCTDA in 2009. KSA citizens make up the largest number of GCC tourists to Sharjah, and the second largest from around the world.

This GCC Road Show was the eighth of the road shows being arranged by the SCTDA and was intended to promote Sharjah’s unique tourist attractions and attract more GCC tourists to the emirate.

The tour is part of SCTDA’s efforts to encourage regional tourist activities, strengthen tourist ties among GCC countries, and to promote Sharjah’s unique attractions as a distinctive destination for heritage, cultural and family tourism.

In addition to the SCTDA, Sharjah delegation included senior representatives from the Sharjah Museums Department, Air Arabia, Sharjah Millennium Hotel, Golden Tulip Hotel, Radisson SAS Resort, Verona Resort and Marbella Resort.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qassimi, SCTDA Chairman, emphasized the importance of this promotional tour, adding that it comes at a time of major changes and challenges that require tremendous cooperative efforts to attract more tourists to the emirate.

“We will intensify marketing and promotional activities for Sharjah to further boost its leading position on the regional and global tourism map. These campaigns will focus on highlighting the emirate’s status as a world-class destination for heritage, cultural and family tourism, combining its distinctive attractions to form a unique tourist destination that blends a historic setting and cultural significance with all the features of a modern city.” This promotional tour is the result of outstanding cooperation between all parties involved in Sharjah’s tourism sector, and directly precedes the imminent launch of the Sharjah Summer Promotion 2009, which will include special discounts, prizes and offers to encourage shopping activity during the summer.

Around 398,186 GCC tourists visited the emirate of Sharjah in 2008 representing 27 percent of the total. These figures prove the vital importance of this market and justify the tremendous efforts exerted by the SCTDA in the region, as well as the host of tourist promotions and products offered by the authority to GCC visitors.

Speaking about the nationalities of tourists visiting the emirate, Al Qassimi said: “Recent statistics issued by SCTDA show that European tourists accounted for 35 percent of the total tourist influx into the emirate in 2008, with GCC tourists accounting for 27 percent, and other Arab countries accounting for 12 percent. Asian tourists made up 23 percent, while the remaining 3 percent came from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Pacific”.

Al Qassimi concluded: “At a time when the emirate of Sharjah is being recognized as a favoured destination on the world tourism map, the SCTDA is putting more initiatives that will boost this leading position at the top of our agenda. To this end, the Authority is actively involved in organizing and participating in a number of prestigious events, all of which have gained global exposure. The Gulf promotional road show is an initiative that creates further opportunities for the emirate of Sharjah to showcase its tourist attractions, building on the success we have experienced on previous tours over the past seven years”.