Travel Trade Journal
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa Chairman, Sharjah Commerce, and Tourism and Development Authority (SCTDA)
The year 2022: As SCTDA, we have approached the past year with resilience and determination. The pandemic has presented unique challenges, but we have remained focused on our priorities and have learned to be more adaptable in the face of change. As an Authority, we have worked to remain flexible and adaptable, and we are pleased to see the travel industry slowly getting back on its feet. At SCTDA, we have continued to strengthen our presence in India with an overarching strategy, working towards establishing Sharjah as the most-preferred destination for all categories of visitors in both the business and leisure sectors.
As part of our efforts to attract more visitors from India, we implemented a comprehensive plan, including participation in key trade shows and strategic trade partnerships backed by robust PR and marketing campaigns. To educate our valuable trade partners about the diverse offerings and attractions of the emirate, we conducted a range of activities, including 15 panIndia sales missions, ten webinars, and four roadshows in key cities - Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai. We were overwhelmed by the response we received regarding the number of agents who participated in these sessions.
In 2022, Sharjah maintained its reputation as a top family tourism destination and attracted a significant number of visitors from the subcontinent in the VFR (visiting friends and relatives) category. A large community of Indian ex-pats in the emirate is a major factor in this popularity. Overall, our marketing efforts and diverse offerings have helped to position Sharjah as a top choice for travellers from India.
New attractions at the destination: The new attractions include House of Wisdom, the awe-inspiring library of the future; Sharjah Safari, the largest safari outside of Arica, home to more than 120 species of animals, which live in Africa and up to 50,000 animals, ranging from birds, reptiles and mammals; such as lions, elephants, giraffes, and rhinoceros. Sharjah’s new adventure tourism project in the breathtaking eastern region of Khorfakkan shines new light on the emirate’s vast potential for adventure tourism. It is being developed on a picturesque site overlooking the serene Luluyah beach. Upon completion in Q4 in 2023, the development will be a haven for adrenaline seekers with its offerings of a zipline, a giant swing, a dry-slide track, hiking tracks, mountain bike tracks, and more.
Preparedness and expectations from the India market in 2023:
We will continue working closely with the industry’s B2B and B2C segments to promote the diverse range of attractions, hospitality options, and cultural activities our emirate offers. These offerings suit all types of travellers, including singles, groups, independent travellers, and those seeking all-inclusive experiences. In 2023, we also have many exciting engagements like strategic trade partnerships, bespoke integrated marketing campaigns, sales missions, roadshows, and familiarisation trips. Our focus is on ensuring that potential visitors are fully informed of the many options available and can easily plan their trip to our emirate.