The tourism authority in the emirate of Sharjah of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Nov 28 it is preparing to welcome as many as 200,000 Chinese visitors to the emirate by 2021, UAE state news agency WAM reported on Nov 28.
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) stated that China is a “major international source market” for tourism and commerce.
SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jasim Al-Midfa said “taking into account the Chinese market’s distinctive characteristics and focusing on Sharjah’s strengths and unique cultural tourism offerings, we are confident that we will continue to see the upward trend of this market in Sharjah.”
Hotels in Sharjah have hosted over 75,000 Chinese visitors during the first three quarters of 2016, showing a 75 percent year-on-year growth, according to data revealed at a recent SCTDA workshop held in Urumqi, China.
Since January 2015, Sharjah-based budget airline Air Arabia has been flying directly from Sharjah to Urumqi, the largest city in Western China. In addition, Dubai-based Emirates Airline, the international carrier of the UAE, has added earlier in May Yinchuan and Zhengzhou as its fourth and fifth destination in mainland China.
“Our recent workshop with our partner Air Arabia in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, was another part of our Chinese strategy aimed at achieving this growth,” said Al-Midfa.
He added that “the increased initiative to attract visitors from China has been boosted by the UAE’s new Chinese visa-on-arrival regulation, and other new initiatives by the authorities and stakeholders to attract more visitors.”
During its Urumqi visit, the delegation also discussed new flight opportunities. As of now, Air Arabia is the only outbound tourist carrier from this region and is running at high capacity, suggesting there is further potential from the region. Air Arabia arranged the meetings and workshops with their key agents, among other outbound tourism providers.