Meanwhile on the sidelines of the exhibition at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority unveiled its first quarter tourism statistics for Year 2013, posting significant increase in the levels of growth in the tourism sector in the emirate during the current year in comparison to the growth percentages recorded in the same period last year.
The 2013 first quarter statistics put the hotel occupancy in the emirate at more than 80 per cent, compared to 78 per cent last year. The number of hotel guests in Sharjah in the first quarter stood at 503,985 mark, as compared to 466,218 in the same period last year, which is an 8 per cent increase. There was a significant rise in hotel room nights or overnight stays as well which touched 612,574 room nights, against 539,393 room nights in the same period last year, which is an increase of 14 per cent.
According to the first quarter statistics report released by the SCTDA, which is based on hotel occupancy in the emirate, European visitors have once again emerged as the largest bloc of tourists attracted by the emirate. The Europeans accounted for 38 per cent of the total number of tourists visiting the emirate, forming the largest tourism feeding market of the emirate. The tourists from the Arab Gulf or GCC states stood second at 34 per cent of the tourism market share.
The Asian tourists ranked third bagging 14 per cent of the share while the percentage of tourists from other Arab countries stood at 10 per cent. The visitors from the CIS nations, Americas, Africa and the Pacific countries contributed 4 per cent to the tourism market.
The number of hotel establishments in the emirate now stands at 101 (46 hotels and 55 hotel apartments) with a combined total of 9,093 rooms. More hotels and hotel apartments are set to join in the next stage to boost the hospitality sector and its capacity.
According to the SCTDA, a number of hotels and resorts are getting ready to take on the challenge of the increasing number of international visitors. Thanks to the encouraging investments made in the hospitality in recent years, the capacity of the emirate’s hospitality sector will jump to 12,000 rooms over the next three years.