The 4th Hospitality Industry Forum organized by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) opened today (Monday, December 4, 2017) in Sharjah under the theme ‘Continuous Innovation,' highlighting the robust expansion of the emirate's tourism sector from 2016 to 2017. Local hospitality sector revenues witnessed a remarkable 7.8 per cent increase during the first half of 2017 compared with the previous year, reaching AED 372 million as the emirate steadily positions itself as a destination of choice for local, regional and international tourists.
The latest edition of the Forum features three sessions related to the growth of Sharjah's tourism and hospitality sector: ‘Sharjah Hospitality Results,' ‘Key to a Successful Travel and Tourism Innovation,' a panel discussion on ‘A Stairway Towards Innovative Marketing,' and two workshops titled ‘Investment in Human Capabilities' and ‘Destination Competitiveness in an Innovative World.'
The Sharjah Hospitality Results session highlights the performance of main tourism indicators in the emirate during 2016 to 2017. It discusses key indicators measuring the performance of hotel establishments, including the number of guest arrivals, guest nights, occupancy rates and revenue generated. The topics also highlight the key growth areas in source markets through tracking the number of hotel guests by nationality, in addition to reviewing techniques and advanced strategies used for innovative tourism marketing and the challenges faced during their implementation.
H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “Under the consistent guidance of our wise leadership, H.H. Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Ruler of Sharjah and Member of the UAE Supreme Council, the relentless efforts of Sharjah's tourism sector have placed the emirate in the international tourism map and has brought success both at the regional and local levels by offering a world-class destination that represents the Arab cultural heritage as well as a family-friendly environment, following the strategic directions of our wise leaders.”
The Forum further emphasizes SCTDA's keenness to gain a greater understanding of market analysis through the collection of online data. This analysis is expected to play a major role in achieving the full potential of tourism in Sharjah.
The Forum's workshops invite attention to the importance of innovation in the hospitality industry; the link between destination competitiveness and innovation; and tools and keys to effective innovative destination competition.
H.E. Al Midfa added: “We are keen on reinforcing our efforts to further expand the local hospitality sector, with the aim of achieving the tourism visions of Sharjah and the UAE for 2021. The remarkable expansion of the sector is the result of the Sharjah Government's intensive efforts to adopt an innovative tourism approach to improve the sector through the provision of innovative solutions. This falls in line with Sharjah's tourism vision which aims to attract more than 10 million tourists by the year 2021.”
The Forum's speakers include global hospitality and tourism experts, such as H.E. Gerald Lawless, World Travel and Tourism Council President, the tourism development thought leader Doug Lansky; Mohamed Yousef, Senior Consultant for Tourism Affairs at the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; Dr. Abdelkader Daghfous, Professor of Supply Chain Management under the Marketing and Information Systems Department of the American University of Sharjah's School of Business Administration; Dr. Sanjay Nadkarni, Director for Research and Innovation at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management; Dr. Amitabh Upadhya, Professor and Dean at the Skyline University College in the UAE and Sara Gasim, Managing Director at Hotel assets Management company owned by Jabal Omar.
Sharjah aims to attract up to 10 million tourists by 2021 and expand tourism's contribution to the local economy. SCTDA is working in line with the vision's main goal of uniting all efforts, initiatives and tourism programs under one umbrella to provide industry players and stakeholders with the ability to achieve the stated goal and enable the tourism industry to play a prominent role as one of the most important economic sectors in Sharjah.