An upbeat Sharjah is looking forward to expanding its presence in the Saudi tourism market as it heads to the fifth edition of the Riyadh Travel Fair, taking place in the Saudi capital from April 23-26.

Around 3,000 exhibitors, delegates and trade visitors from across the region and around the world, representing governments and leaders of the tourism and hospitality industry are taking part in the Riyadh Travel Fair this year.

“The Riyadh Travel Fair has emerged as one of the key events in the region. A number of local, regional and international destinations, companies and government bodies involved in the hospitality sector take part in it. So we are confident that this participation will help us in selling the Sharjah tourism product in the Saudi and regional market,” said Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

He said that the numbers of the Saudi tourists to Sharjah have been growing fast year on year. “Saudi Arabia once again contributed the biggest chunk to Sharjah’s GCC tourism market last year with 195,462 Saudi tourists visiting the emirate in 2012, which is a whopping 96 per cent increase over the previous year’s figure of 99,505. This gives us confidence that our strategy in reaching out to the GCC countries, especially in tapping the Saudi market, has been successful and delivering results,” he added.