Sharjah Tourism eyes 200,000 Chinese visitors by 2021

SHARJAH, 28th November, 2016 (WAM) — The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, SCTDA, is preparing to welcome as many as 200,000 Chinese visitors to the emirate by 2021.

Explaining that China is a major international source market for tourism and commerce, SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jasim Al Midfa said, “Taking into account the Chinese market’s distinctive characteristics and focussing on Sharjah’s strengths and unique cultural tourism offerings, we are confident that we will continue to see the upward trend of this market in Sharjah. We are aiming to confirm 200,000 Chinese guests’ nights in 2021.”

Hotels in Sharjah have hosted over 75,000 Chinese visitors during the first three quarters of 2016, showing a 75 percent year-on-year growth, according to data revealed at a recent SCTDA workshop held in Urumqi, China.

“Our latest workshop with our partner Air Arabia in the north-western Chinese city of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, was another part of our Chinese strategy aimed at achieving this growth. The delegation met with the region’s major travel agencies and overseas tour organisers to discuss strategies for boosting Chinese tourism to Sharjah, as well as to gain a better insight into the market’s current trends,” Al Midfa said. “The increased initiative to attract visitors from China has been boosted by the new Chinese visa-on-arrival regulation, and other new initiatives by the authorities and stakeholders to attract more visitors.”

During its Urumqi visit, the delegation also discussed new flight opportunities. As of now, Air Arabia is the only outbound tourist carrier from this region and is running at high capacity, suggesting there is further potential from the region. Air Arabia arranged the meetings and workshops with their key agents, among other outbound tourism providers.

The workshop included a presentation covering the Emirate of Sharjah’s rich history and cultural heritage, as well as its diverse tourist offerings, further emphasised the emirate’s central location in relation to all continents, and underlined its character as a city and an emirate steeped in history and unwaveringly attached to its heritage.

The emirate boasts several tourist attractions, including the Heart of Sharjah, Al Majaz Waterfront, Mleiha archaeological site and the Central Souk, supplemented by a range of exciting events such as the Sharjah Light Festival, Sharjah International Book Fair and the upcoming U.I.M. F1H2O World Championship, the Grand Prix of Sharjah, to be held in December this year.

The presentation concluded with an overview of the phenomenal growth that the travel and tourism sector in Sharjah has undergone, along with a preview of projects in the pipeline and the sector’s promising growth prospects in the near future.