Organized by the Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) in cooperation with Air Arabia, representatives from the tourism sector (Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA), Sharjah National Hotels, Radisson SAS Resort, Millennium Hotel, and Embassy Suites) in the Emirate of Sharjah began their Tourism Promotional GCC Road Show aimed at promoting the emirate and marketing the summer promotional offers to attract more Gulf tourists to Sharjah. This being the 5th of its kind, the road show will take place from the 14th -25th of May 2006 and take into account 7 gulf destinations including the capitals of Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia; the last of which features an itinerary including Dammam and Jeddah.
This Road Show comes as part of SCTDA's on going effort to promote Sharjah as a unique cultural destination of heritage for the entire family, while strengthening its position and highlighting its profile amongst the other Gulf countries.
Mr. Mohamed A. Al Noman, Director of SCTDA, who is heading the road show expressed the importance of this promotional tour, noting that at present the tourism sector in the Emirate of Sharjah is improving substantially, a fact confirmed by the increase in hotel occupancy rates; and that at this time the tourism sector is playing a major role in supporting the local productivity of the emirate on a whole. In 2005 this sector witnessed great progress where hotel revenues increased at the rate of 25% compared to that of 2004.
What distinguishes this promotional road show from previous tours is the cooperation and collective effort across Sharjah's entire tourism sector in providing competitive holiday packages. This comes at the time when the SCTDA, Sharjah Economic Development Department, and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry are organizing and preparing for the Sharjah Summer promotion 2006 www.myssp.ae , which will include discounts and offers and various special events in order to encourage shopping between June 15th and 31st August.
" SCTDA is willing to support and participate in the economic progress of Sharjah through strong marketing and promotional campaigns, with a focus on the uniqueness of our city and its intricate blend of the past and the future." said Mr. Mohamed A. Al Noman. "Sharjah's commercial sector is rapidly developing and has so far this year witnessed the opening of a great number of shopping malls and hotels, with more commercial malls and hotels to be opened later this year, which will enrich this sector for sure".
It is expected that the year 2006 will include 3 to 4 new hotels, to add to the existing ones; while the requested investments for the tourism sector in the Emirate will range from 1.5 to 2 billion dirham.
He expressed his pleasure on how during the last year, hotel occupancy increased significantly to reach 85% and by this year it has been estimated to reach 90%. "There is no doubt that this rate of hotel occupancy reflects the success of the Emirate, where the number of travellers though Sharjah international airport during the first 9 months of 2005 reached 1.63 million an increase of 31% compared to the same period of 2004 where it reached 1.24 million travellers".
Al-Noman reflected on these figures and spoke of how Sharjah has attracted more than 1 million tourists in 2004 from different countries and then achieved a 25% increase in 2005. Within these figures Gulf tourists contribute 30% to the total rate, emphasizing the importance of their presence in this important market. He believes that through providing more special offers to Gulf tourist and the promoting of the tourism sector, these figures will continue to grow year by year.
At a time when the Emirate of Sharjah is now being recognized on the world tourism map, SCTDA through its various activities and events hopes to continue attracting international, regional, and local interest. They state that this Gulf promotional road show will create more opportunity for the emirate of Sharjah and highlight its attractions. From the result of past tours across the Gulf, Sharjah is still benefiting from its success to this day.