The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority has won the Most Outstanding Booth Award at the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2011 (BITE) held in the Chinese capital from 17 to 19 June.  The Sharjah stand was chosen for its distinctive design from among 800 stands at the leading travel and tourism exhibition from around the world.

The SCTDA team received the award at a grand ceremony attended by top Chinese officials, exhibitors from other countries and international media representatives. The award is the fifth of its kind for the SCTDA at the Beijing Expo, having won it in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Speaking on the occasion, HE Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Director General of the SCTDA said: “This is a recognition of the SCTDA’s persistent efforts to promote Sharjah at local, regional and international levels. It is a huge boost for the emirate’s identity, which has established itself as a complete holiday destination for the entire family.”

This international award marks a new milestone in the series of achievements and accolades that have come Sharjah’s way over the past few years, he said.  “This should also drive us to do even more to boost Sharjah’s profile on the global tourism map. We are committed to maintaining this momentum, under the guidance of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah,” emphasised Al Noman.

Al Noman said that the SCTDA’s presence at Asia’s leading tourism event is part of its efforts to promote and strengthen Sharjah’s eminent position in international tourism industry and attract more visitors from around the world.  Participation in such international events helps tourism industry in the emirate keep pace with changes and trends in worldwide, increase tourist flow into the emirate, and benefit from the immense potential of markets like China, the Director General said.

The Chinese tourists are now in excess of 20 million a year, which is projected to reach 100 million by 2020.  Last year saw an extraordinary surge — 240 per cent — in the numbers of Chinese visitors to Sharjah.

“Every year, we have been trying to make our presence at Beijing Expo a focal point in order to attract Chinese tourists to Sharjah, and we are extremely optimistic of the benefit of the openness and dynamism of Chinese trade and tourism markets on the tremendous potential increase in the tourist inflow to Sharjah. This is in line with the development witnessed in the emirate’s tourism sector and the growth expectations and targets for the next five years,” he added.

The Sharjah delegation to Beijing Expo led by the Authority held extensive meetings and exchanged ideas with leading Chinese and international tourism players and industry leaders.  This is the second such award for Sharjah this year, the first being the Best Arab Exhibitor award received at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism event, earlier this year.

The unique design of Sharjah’s stand celebrating the Emirati and Arab-Islamic heritage attracted thousands of visitors and drew international media attention. Visitors to the Sharjah stand were provided publications and promotional material about the emirate in Chinese and English.  On the eve of the Beijing Expo this year, the SCTDA also launched its website in Chinese.