Destination marketing in focus for 2006

Qanat Al Qasba is the newest tourist attraction in Sharjah

SHARJAH will continue to position itself as a unique family destination in 2006, it was decided at a recent meeting of the Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).

In a meeting held to determine the best ways to enhance Sharjah’s position in the tourism sector, SCTDA director Mohamed Al Noman gathered senior representatives of key players in Sharjah’s tourism industry, including hoteliers, tour operators, the Sharjah International Airport Authority, Air Arabia and Qanat Al Qasba, the 60-metre observatory wheel and surrounding tourism attraction.
More focus will be given to regional and international tourism and destination marketing will be priorities in 2006, where Sharjah will promote itself as a unique cultural and heritage family destination via the use of promotional campaigns, road shows and other tourist activities.
It was agreed that the joint effort of all players in the tourism industry must continue to present new offers to attract more tourists to Sharjah. Already in 2005, the tourism sector in Sharjah had reached it highest occupancy rate achieving 94 per cent, a 10 per cent rise over the previous year.
On marketing plans for the remainder of 2006, Al Noman said that Sharjah should increase its exposure to a wider international market. One of the main suggestions was to increase focus on the German and Russian markets, the biggest source markets for Sharjah. An emphasis will also be placed on increasing traffic from other countries such as France, Switzerland, Italy and countries in Eastern Europe. This will be done by way of investment promoting Sharjah through the attractiveness of its hotels and resorts, but also as a destination rich in culture, heritage and activities, which includes museums, diving and family entertainment.
Apart from participating in key events this year, as well as promoted in its annual road show across the GCC countries. The emirate is currently renovating its airport to accommodate 8.5 million passengers. Work is likely to be completed by January 2007.