By Andy Sambidge
Emirate says it is working to attract more tourist investment as 1.5m visit last year
Sharjah saw a marginal increase in international tourists in 2011, according to figures released by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority on Sunday.
The emirate recorded 1,562,869 guests last year compared to 1,556,885 arrivals the previous year.
The SCTDA statistics for 2011 also showed an increase in the occupancy rate of the emirate's hotels and hotel apartments, rising to 76 percent.
Sharjah's hotels received 843,676 guests in 2011 compared to 774,651 guests in 2010 while visitors to hotel apartments fell from 782,234 to 719,193, a statement said.
SCTDA said the total number of room nights in Sharjah's hotels and hotel apartments rose to 1,804,530 in 2011 compared to 1,537,765 room nights in 2010.
SCTDA chairman Mohamed Ali Al Noman said: "Our objective is to put the emirate in the league of the world's top and most popular tourism destinations and double the number of tourists visiting the emirate annually."
He added that Sharjah was working to attract more tourism investments in the emirate and expects to increase the number of hotel rooms in the emirate to 12,000 over the next four years, with a focus on five-star and three-star hotels and beach resorts.
"We will ensure complete cooperation with all government and private agencies to ensure investment environment is safe and things go off smoothly and swiftly for everyone concerned," he said.