The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced a nine per cent increase in the number of visitors to the emirate in the second half of 2009.
Sharjah had previously experienced a 15 per cent decline in tourist numbers during the first half of the year due to the effects of the financial crisis on the global tourism sector.
During 2009, the number of hotels and hotel apartments in the emirate increased by seven per cent to 110 – 41 hotels and 69 hotel apartments – as compared to 103 – 37 hotels and 66 hotel apartments – in 2008.
Accordingly, the total number of available rooms rose to 8,727 in 2009, 4,275 hotel rooms and 4,452 hotel apartment rooms, a 14 per cent increase on 2008.
Despite the global financial crisis and its impact on the world’s tourism sector in 2009, Sharjah’s hotel occupancy rate suffered a mere 11 per cent decline from 80 per cent
in 2008 to 69 per cent in 2009, taking into account the dramatic 14 per cent increase in the number of additional rooms made available throughout 2009.
The hotel occupancy rate in Sharjah was 74 per cent in 2009, only marginally lower than the 86 percent occupancy rate recorded in 2008, while the occupancy in hotel apartments was 64 per cent in 2009 and 72 per cent in 2008.
Figures show that the total number of occupied room nights in Sharjah’s hotel establishments dropped by only three per cent in 2009 to 1,462,165.
Hotel room nights accounted for 790,900 of the 2009 total with hotel apartment room nights accounting for the remaining 671,265 room nights, up from 622,260 in 2008.
The total number of guests staying in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments was down to 1,447,934 in 2009, a six per cent decline on 2008.
According to the SCTDA’s statistics, the 608,281 European tourists accounted for 42 per cent of total tourist arrivals to the emirate in 2009, while GCC tourists accounted for 23 per cent (327,916), tourists from other Arab countries for 11 per cent, and those from Asian countries for 15 per cent (218,515), with the remaining nine per cent made up of six per cent from Africa (88,596), two per cent from the US (28,774) and one per cent from the Pacific region (19,242).
Commenting on the figures Mohamed Al Noman, SCTDA Director General said: “We deeply believe in Sharjah’s tourism brand, which is distinguished from other regions by such attractions as high profile cultural, heritage, entertainment and sporting activities that are organised in the emirate throughout the year, the cohesive family atmosphere and the multitude of attractions, such as museums and heritage sites, which attract visitors from all over the world to Sharjah.
“We will continue with our promotional campaigns and will introduce Sharjah’s unique tourism product to tourists all over the world by taking part in the world’s largest tourism gatherings, both locally and internationally.
“We plan to launch new activities that take into account the changes in the global economy as well as the new tourism trends and needs, of which we are fully aware.”
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