The lure of the China market has struck Sharjah tourism. The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) will soon showcase its tourism offerings at the upcoming China Outbound Tourism and Travel Market (COTTM) exhibition.
A strong delegation will be travelling to attend COTTM Beijing 2015.
This includes representatives from 14 entities from the pubic as well as private sectors in the emirate’s tourism and hospitality sectors, including Sharjah National Hotels, Hilton, Al Shaab Village, Radisson Blu, Arabianlink Tours, Cozmo Travel, Copthorne Sharjah, Golden Tulip, Sheraton Sharjah Resort & Spa, Coral Beach Hotel, SATA, Sharjah Museums Department, and Ramada Sharjah.
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, director general of SCTDA, said: “We look forward to welcoming more tourists from China this year as we celebrate Sharjah’s recognition as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015.”
Highlighting growing Chinese interest in Sharjah, HE Al Midfa stated that Sharjah’s hotels received more than 35,000 Chinese guests during the year 2014, registering an increase of over 130% against the 2013 figures when the emirate received 15,000 Chinese guests.
The number of Chinese guests in Sharjah constituted 1.8% of total number of international guests received during the year 2014, a 124% jump over 2013 when they accounted for 0.8%. The number of Asian guests of diverse nationalities in the Emirate’s hotels also grew from 13.4% to 15.9%, highlighting the positive impact of SCTDA’s participation in prominent exhibitions in the Chinese tourism market.
The number of visitors from Asian countries to Sharjah registered sustained growth in the past few years with hotels in the Emirate recording 19% increase in number of Asian guests. Sharjah received more than 313,000 Asian guests in 2014 as against more than 263,000 in 2013, added HE Al Midfa.
China is one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world accounting for more than 98 million outbound tourists who spent more than US$128 billion, according to a study by the China Tourism Academy. It is expected that this figure will grow this year by 15% to reach 114 m outbound trips leading to US$140 bn travel spends. The Chinese share of global outbound expenditure is set to rise from one per cent in 2005 to 20% in 2023, according to Oxford Economics.