The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) recently hosted a special business breakfast meeting with key representatives from the UAE’s tourism industry to discuss the formulation and implementation of a strategic action plan that can help Sharjah’s development into an international tourist destination. The SCCI’s call for an immediate action plan follows the impressive performance of Sharjah’s tourism sector, which has posted 11 per cent annual growth over the last five years, translating to revenues to the tune of AED 68.4 billion.
Attending the breakfast meeting were officials and members of the SCCI headed by Chairman Ahmad Mohammad Al Midfaa; Members of the Board of Directors - Ahmad Mohammad Al Amiri, Ahmad Mohammad Al Jarwan and Abdullah Rashed Sofor; SCCI Director General, Hussein Mohammed Al Mahmoudi and SCCI Assistant Director General for Membership and Branches Affairs Khalid Bin Butti Bin Obaid. Also present during the event were representatives coming from various hospitality and tourism based establishments in the emirate.
The meeting featured discussions about the present state of Sharjah’s tourism industry, especially in the wake of the ongoing global economic slowdown. Also discussed were the challenges and current projects being undertaken to help attract more visitors, tourists and shoppers to the emirate, underscoring the importance of Sharjah’s tourism segment in the overall economic development of the area.
Commenting on the meeting, Ahmad Mohammed Al Midfaa said, ““The local tourism sector plays a key role in supporting economic growth, especially during the present period which is seeing new challenges. Accordingly we have intensified our efforts and enhanced collaboration with the parties concerned to formulate more strategies and plans at the local and regional level with an aim to increase tourist inflow to Sharjah from across the Gulf countries, Arab region and around the world. In line with this, we seek to enhance the level of cooperation between the private and public sectors so as to face economic challenges more effectively, support the development of major tourism projects in Sharjah and promote the emirate globally as an ideal family holiday destination.”
“Moreover, major events like the Sharjah Spring Promotions and the Sharjah Summer Promotions which we organise annually, go a long way in promoting the emirate. We are also looking to leverage the appeal of Sharjah’s natural resources, particularly in the eastern and central areas, and to showcase the diversity, cultural heritage and natural beauty of the emirate to tourists. Further, while we plan to increase the number of hotels and resorts in Sharjah to cater to the steadily growing number of tourists, we also will be giving top priority to maintaining the highest quality standards in the hospitality sector,” he added.
According to a recent report from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), the number of hotels/hotel apartments in the emirate has significantly increased to 107 (37 hotels and 66 hotel apartments ranging in the one star to five star rating). The report also shares that more hotels are expected to open in the next few years as a means to cope with the growing demand. A total of 4,000 new hotel rooms will be added by 2011, which will take the total number of hotel rooms in Sharjah to 12,000.
This meeting is part of SCCI’s strategic plan to promote the collaboration between various economic sectors in the emirate and regional and international bodies in an effort to strengthen Sharjah’s development. SCCI also aims to formulate and implement expansion strategies and plans, which will enable the creation of important services and facilities that will contribute to the promotion of Sharjah as a premier tourist destination.