SHARJAH: K.T. ABDURABB
Published — Wednesday 24 April 2013
Last update 24 April 2013 4:35 am
Northern emirates Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah are looking to further expand their presence in Saudi tourism market. The two emirates will have their booths at Riyadh Travel Fair, which is running until Friday.
“Once again, the Kingdom has contributed the biggest chunk to Sharjah’s GCC tourism market with 195,462 Saudi tourists visiting the emirate in 2012, which is a whopping 96 percent increase over the previous year’s figure of 99,505,” said Mohamed Ali Al-Noman, chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.
Al-Noman described Sharjah’s participation in the Riyadh Travel Fair as an important part of the emirate’s strategy to reach out to the massive Saudi tourism market.
“This will strengthen the emirate’s tourism cooperation with the GCC countries, especially the Saudi market that is our biggest contributor in the GCC region and thus most important for us,” he added.
“Sharjah offers a perfect family destination for the GCC tourists with common traditions, culture and lifestyle in a modern setting and with world-class amenities,” Al-Noman said.
Ras Al-Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) CEO Victor Louis said: “We are looking forward to attend Riyadh Travel Fair for discovering new opportunities to strengthen the tourism links between two regions.”
He added: “Over the past two years we’ve spotted a growing number of Saudi holidaymakers choosing Ras Al-Khaimah, making the Kingdom one of our fastest growing markets as well as one of the highest spending per hotel guest. We see important potential for development here and anticipate Saudi Arabia will play an increasingly important role in our growth strategy for the emirate.”
With ever increasing visitor numbers from its primary source markets of the UAE, Germany and Russia, Ras Al-Khaimah is now looking for its reputation to grow as a top regional holiday destination within the GCC and specifically Saudi Arabia.
TDA sources said visitors from the Kingdom represented a small but high value and fast growing proportion of Ras Al-Khaimah’s tourism sector.
In 2012, Ras Al-Khaimah welcomed 3,542 visitors from the Kingdom, representing just 0.32 percent of the emirate’s total visitor number but a 234 percent increase in the number of the country’s visitors from the year 2011.
Saudi visitors to Ras Al-Khaimah also have a significantly higher average hotel spend per guest than other source markets — spending on average $ 110 per room in 2012 compared to $ 98 per UAE guest, $ 78 per German guest and $ 68 per Russian guest.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been receiving a huge number of visitors from Saudi Arabia for several years.