Sharjah promotes three themes in India – Culture & Heritage, Gastronomy and Adventure

The emirate of Sharjah is well-known for its rich, cultural heritage and it is a vibrant city with an exciting food and arts scene, a heritage area that is the largest restoration project in the region along with various commercial centres and over 22 museums.

India is a growing market for Sharjah. Indian tourists are travelling like never before and are now rated among the world’s highest spenders on travel and hence are keen to get our share of this potential market, said H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) in an exclusive interview with Travel News Digest.

Sharjah received about 160,000 guest nights between January to August 2018.

Talking on the lines of targeting 10 million visitors by 2021, H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa threw light on Sharjah’s promotional and marketing strategies for the same. “To achieve high numbers of visitors, we are promoting three themes of Sharjah in India – Culture and Heritage, Gastronomy and Adventure. SCTDA are organising roadshows along with meetings and workshops involving leading tourism agencies across major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad. We are also participating in exhibitions along with conducting multiple FAM trips for tour operators.”

SCTDA are also taking Sharjah’s tourism proposition to India’s travel trade this year, attending leading Indian international travel exhibitions in Mumbai and New Delhi.

As indicated by the rising number of Indian tourists flocking to Sharjah’s tourism establishments, the emirate’s tourism events, festivals and lifestyle experiences are specifically designed to cater to the Indian markets’ choices, appealing to both tourists and potential investors.

H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa added, “We will continue to advertise in key markets and optimise our social media presence to increase engagement. We are working closely with our India Representative Office to continuously strategise, and facilitate our efforts to sustain and further grow our campaigns.”

Holidaymakers from India have a multitude of options to choose from, the most important being the unique cultural destinations that cater to families. “Our family-friendly communities offer the perfect setting to enjoy a range of outdoor activities, which makes Sharjah a destination of choice for them. Desert landscapes, water sports activities, historical and archaeological sites, as well as parks and nature reserves are developed in harmony with nature,” quippedaverred  H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa.

‘Glamping,’ where visitors explore nature while also enjoying the modern luxury and convenience of staying outdoors is also gaining prominence among millennial travellers. With their high standards of catering and hospitality, the high end, five-star hotels of the emirate are catering to the demands of the Indian wedding market as well.

H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa stated, “We are also looking into the growing appeal of Sharjah as a destination for ‘business and leisure’ travellers as business executives learn to optimise long weekends to spend time with their families and take advantage of the emirate’s popularity as a family-friendly destination. This ‘bleisure’ trend runs alongside leisure tourism advantages coupled with the developments in infrastructure that caters to the MICE sector.”

Projects such as the Novotel Hotel Sharjah, which will feature 120 rooms and suites including three hotels, a health club, private suites, a business centre, private workshops and two meeting rooms, including a 200 sq m conference hall built according to the highest specifications, mark Sharjah hospitality’s expansion into the business hotel market. This project is strategically located near the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  

Then there is the Pullman hotel which has 188 rooms and suites, three coffee and beverage areas, a restaurant serving meals throughout the day, one serving ‘specialty cuisines’, large meeting rooms, two health clubs, a spa, two indoor swimming pools and an open-air swimming pool. These premium developments reflect the emirate’s hospitality sector’s commitment to cater to Indian businesses, said H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa.

Speaking about upcoming events that may attract tourists in Sharjah, H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa said, “We have the upcoming international water sports competitions such as the U.I.M. F1H2O World Championship, UIM-ABP Aquabike Class Pro Circuit World Championship – the Grand Prix of Sharjah; and other leading cultural events such as the Sharjah Light Festival, World Music Festival, and Xposure International Photography Festival.”