sharjahSharjah continues to attract visitors from around the world in growing numbers, recording a surge in tourist numbers in the first half of Year 2013.

The 2013 first half-yearly statistics released by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority put the hotel occupancy in the emirate at more than 71 per cent, compared to 66 per cent last year, in an overall increase of 3 per cent.

With a total number of 951,592 guests staying in the emirate’s 103 hotel establishments (48 hotels and 55 hotel apartments), an overall increase of 9 per cent in guest numbers was registered.  The guests were roughly split between hotels and hotel apartments with 536,047 staying in hotels and 415,545 choosing to stay in hotel apartments, whereas 874,977 guests stayed in the emirates hotel same period last year with 511,620 staying in hotels in hotels and 363,357  in hotel apartments.

The report also shows a 7 per cent jump in the number of hotel room nights and hotel apartment room nights from 999,599 last year (621,359 hotel room nights and 378,249 hotel apartments room nights) to 1,071,829 (611,445 hotel room nights and 460,387 hotel apartments room nights) this year. Thanks to the encouraging investments made in the hospitality in recent years, the capacity of the emirate’s hospitality sector will jump to 12,000 rooms over the next two years.

Following visitor patterns in recent years, the Europeans once again took the lion’s share at 37 per cent with some 347,480 tourists from Europe visiting the emirate in the first half of 2013.  Amongst the Europeans, Russian tourists lead with 23 per cent.

The Europeans were closely followed by the GCC tourists (34 per cent) with some 324,239 people visiting the emirate. Asian visitors formed 14 per cent whereas Arab visitors from other countries across the Middle East formed 10 per cent. The Americans, the Africans and Scandinavian tourists formed 5 per cent of the visiting tourist population so far this year.