Sharjah sees 7% rise in tourists

Sharjah sees 7% rise in tourists. (EB FILE)

Hotels and hotel apartments recorded a seven per cent increase in guests in Sharjah in 2009, said Mohamed Al Noman, Director-General of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).

There were 41 hotels and 69 hotel apartments in 2009, as compared to 37 hotels and 66 hotel apartments in 2008, he said. The number of hotels and hotel apartments rose from 103 in 2008 to 110 in 2009.

The total number of available rooms increased to 8,727 last year (4,275 hotel rooms and 4,452 hotel apartment rooms), a 14 per cent increase from 7,647 rooms (3,896 hotel rooms and 3,751 hotel apartment rooms) in 2008, he said.

Al Noman said Sharjah reported nine per cent rise in tourist numbers in the second half of 2009 and this balanced out the 15 per cent fall seen in the first half.

"Despite the global financial crisis and its impact on the world's tourism sector in 2009, Sharjah's hotel occupancy rate reported an 11 per cent decline from 80 per cent in 2008 to 69 per cent in 2009. However, this does not reflect the true situation considering the 14 per cent increase in the number of additional rooms made available in 2009," said Al Noman. He said: "We are planning to launch new activities that take into account the changes in the global economy as well as trends."

The emirate is determined to further expand its presence in the local, regional and international tourism markets by utilising all the natural and human resources available in Sharjah and the surrounding areas on the Eastern Coast such as Dibba Al Hisn, Khorfakkan and Kalba, he said.

"The hotel occupancy rate in Sharjah was 74 per cent in 2009, marginally lower than the 86 per cent occupancy rate recorded in 2008, while the occupancy in hotel apartments was 64 per cent in 2009 and 72 per cent in 2008," he noted.

Figures show that the total number of occupied room nights in Sharjah's hotels dropped by three per cent in 2009, from 1,504,859 nights in 2008 to 1,462,165 in 2009, with hotel room nights accounting for 790,900 of the 2009 total (down from 882,599 in 2008) and 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 hotels and hotel apartments was down to 1,447,934 in 2009, a six per cent decline compared to the 1,535,234 guests in 2008.

This included 748,677 guests staying in hotels (down from 824,135 in 2008), and 699,257 guests staying in hotel apartments (down from 711,099 in 2008), he said.

The highest number of visitors were Europeans, 608,281, or 42 per cent, followed by GCC nationals, 327,916, or 23 per cent.

Asian tourists were at 218,515, or 15 per cent, Arab citizens were at 156,610, or 11 per cent. The remaining nine per cent was made up of six per cent African tourists, 88,596, two per cent from the United States, 28,774, and one per cent from the Pacific region 19,242.

"The minor decline witnessed in the emirate's tourism performance in 2009 compared to other regions in the world reflects the emirate's leading position in this sector," according to Al Noman.

 

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