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Sharjah Tourism: Summer offers boosted hotel sector performance, GCC still main source market

Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority confirmed that this year's international summer campaign had a positive effect on the tourist numbers in the Emirate. The SCTDA campaign which ran in collaboration with the emirates accommodation sector was run in parallel with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry's summer campaign which promoted the commerce and shopping available. 

The promotional campaigns played a major role in the revitalisation of the tourist season as the number of visitors booking accommodation in the emirate - as well as their total spend - witnessed an increase in the summer season, with travellers from the GCC still topping the charts.

Commenting on the topic, His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said that the summer campaign launched by the Authority and other government entities formed a strong collaborative strategy to promote Sharjah as a leading family destination in the region throughout the year.

His Excellency explained that the summer campaigns organised by Sharjah Tourism in cooperation with the emirate's hotels, which included a 20.6% deduction on accommodation rates, come as part of a promotional campaign launched halfway through this year under the name 'Sharjah My Family Destination'. The campaign aims to achieve one of the main pillars of the Sharjah Tourism Vision, which focuses on families to develop the tourism sector in the emirate, by introducing a range of initiatives, packages, and offers that meet their requirements in accordance with the best international standards.

Yasser Sayed, Director General of Ramada Hotel Apartments, reported that the summer promotions organised by SCTDA in Sharjah exceeded expectations with regards to hotels' revenues in the emirate. Ramada's occupancy rate reached 100% in the summer, a 15% increase from the rest of the year, which was expected seeing as families tend to favour hotel apartments.

Sayed explained that 80% of guests in the Ramada Hotel Apartments were tourists, with visitors from Saudi Arabia topping the list, followed by travellers from Oman and Bahrain. He asserted that the promotional campaigns carried out by the Authority were very effective in supplying the accommodation sector with more visitors during the 2016 summer season. 

Ghassan Farhat, General Manager of Time Ruby Hotel Apartments, said that the summer hotel offers are a good step to strengthen the relationship between SCTDA and the hotel sector, with the end goal being to cement the position of Sharjah Tourism in the region. Farhat pointed out that the number of guests in the Time Ruby Hotel Apartments increased by 10% to 15% when compared against other seasons, with most of the guests visiting Sharjah coming from Saudi Arabia and Oman, in particular, and the Arab Gulf countries, in general.

Pierre Semaan, Marketing Manager at Sahara Centre, said that the summer promotions contributed to a 15% increase in the numbers of visitors to the Sahara Centre, as well as the 10% sales growth, compared with other seasons. Semaan added that visitor source markets to the Centre are mainly the GCC, followed by Asia, and Europe, and that tourists made up 20% of the visitors to the Sahara Centre during the summer. Semaan lauded SCTDA's efforts saying they were a tremendous support to shopping centres across the emirate during the summer season.

The latest Sharjah Tourism statistics reported that hotels in the emirate achieved AED378 million in revenues during the first half of this year, a 7% increase from the same period last year. Occupancy rates during H1 2016 reached 62%, as 878,006 hotel guests spent a total of 1.99 million nights in all establishments, a 19% increase compared to the total number of nights spent by tourists in Sharjah hotels during the first half of last year.

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