Sharjah posted a 7% increase in hotel revenues to AED 378 million (US$103 million) during the first six months of 2016, according to the latest figures from Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).
The authority says business from markets targeted in its strategic marketing plan increased 19% during H1 2016 compared with H1 2015.
The SCTDA announced its Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 tourism development strategy in 2015, which aims to attract more than 10 million tourists to the emirate 2021.
A total of 878,006 visitors booked accommodation in Sharjah during the first half of 2016, compared with about one million visitors registered during the first half of 2015. Sharjah guests stayed 1.99 million hotel nights from 1 January to 30 June 2016.
China is now Sharjah’s fastest growing tourism market, according to the SCDTA, which recently stepped up its marketing efforts in the country by opening up a representative office, recruiting Chinese staff and adding a Chinese language website to Sharjah’s tourism portal.
The emirate saw a 78% increase in Chinese visitors during 2015 and in H1 2016 has seen a 73.2% hike in Chinese tourist numbers.
Overall, the largest numbers of visitors during the first six months of this year came from the GCC which accounted for nearly 220,000 hotel guests or about 25% of the total. Asia provided the second largest source of tourists, showing a 12% increase compared to H1 2015. Meanwhile, 180,768 registered Sharjah hotel guests came from Europe, accounting for about 21% of the total.