SCTDA records 3% increase in hotel guest numbers during 2019 - GulfToday

SCTDA records 3% increase in hotel guest numbers during 2019


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) revealed that the emirate recorded a three per cent growth in the number of hotel guests in 2019 as compared to 2018. The sector welcomed approximately 1.8 million guests last year with a hotel occupancy rate of 66 per cent. In terms of nationalities, guests from the Russian Federation topped the list, followed by GCC countries such as KSA and Oman, and then India.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said that the emirate witnessed robust inflows of tourists throughout last year, thanks to the emirate’s major achievements in terms of the launch of new recreation facilities, tourism initiatives and related activities. Al Midfa added that Sharjah’s higher hotel occupancy rates can be attributed to the success of the initiatives and projects implemented in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to further enhance the emirate’s position on the global tourism landscape.


Al Midfa noted that by the end of 2019, the emirate had more than 10,000 hotel rooms, comprising 1,331 rooms in nine 5-star hotels; 2,733 rooms in 21 4-star hotels; as well as thirty one in one to three-star hotels; and 2,485 apartments in 40 hotel apartment facilities.

Furthermore, six new 5-star and 4-star hotels were inaugurated last year, and more than seven new hotel projects are expected to be unveiled in 2020. This reflects Sharjah’s growth as a must-visit destination for families, business travelers and those seeking exciting tourism and recreation activities, and highlights investor confidence in Sharjah’s flourishing tourism sector.

Sharjah’s tourism sector is one of the main pillars of its economy, owing to its ability to effectively contribute to the creation of job opportunities, diversification of economic base and income sources. Tourism accounted for 8.8 per cent or more than Dhs9 billion of Sharjah’s total GDP of Dhs102.5 billion as per the 2015 GDP data.

As part of its continued efforts to promote tourism, attract more tourists and visitors, and boost the emirate’s tourism competitiveness, SCTDA launched a package of innovative services last year. These include the ‘Smart Mirror,’ an interactive platform that promotes Sharjah’s profile as a destination of choice for tourists by enabling users to explore the emirate’s main landmarks and attractions; and the ‘AI Tour Guide Chatbot,’ a 24×7 voice and text-based chatbot developed to provide the latest information about Sharjah to tourists and answer their queries. Accessible via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and available in five languages (Arabic, English, German, Chinese and Russian), the ‘AI Tour Guide Chatbot’ provides accurate details about the emirate’s top tourist destinations, must-do recreation activities, world-class hotel facilities and leading restaurants.

Furthermore, the ‘Hotel Statistics System- Business Intelligence’ (HSS – BI) solution’ provides hotels with access to real-time guest data and statistics, including accurate details, such as nationality, duration of stay and much more. The ‘Smart Vehicle Permit System’ service enables tourism agencies to finalise registration procedures, pay the fees and print-out permits within a few minutes. SCTDA has also introduced the ‘Smart Hotel Licensing and Classification’ system, which was developed to automate commercial transactions and manage tourism standards--covering a wide spectrum of services including hotel establishment registration, online submission of all applications related to licensing, inspection, violation management and facility classification. This service enables external customers to register and customize their accounts and start using the services once approved.

Environmental projects and eco-tourism initiatives are also becoming increasingly popular in Sharjah, and this shift is evident in tourism and hospitality sectors. Several premium environment-friendly tourism projects are being developed in the emirate with designs drawing inspiration from the surrounding landscapes, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and providing superior services according to the highest international standards. The most notable projects in this regard are the Al Faya Retreat, located in the middle of the desert, boasting 5-star facilities and providing an exceptional tourism experience; Al Badayer Retreat, a luxury tourism development strategically located in the heart of Al Badayer desert; Kingfisher Retreat, a 5-star hospitality development offering unique stays in Kalba Mangrove Reserve; and Al Rafisah Dam Rest Area, a tourism attraction, surrounded by majestic nature and mountains.

The emirate also recently witnessed the inauguration of Buhais Geological Park, which features fossils and geological attractions and illustrates Sharjah’s evolution through various geological ages.

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