TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Sharjah is famous for its rich culture. What are the emirate’s main characteristics that make this sector stand out?
DJAMILYA ASHYKOVA: The main reason for such a rich cultural development is the vision of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, ruler, Sharjah, who leads the emirate’s educational, cultural development, and preserving the cultural heritage of the UAE.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What do you recommend to visitors who want to discover Sharjah’s culture?
DJAMILYA ASHYKOVA: There are lots of sights to visit and activities to do. The most exciting are; Mleiha Archaeological Centre, combining historical museums with an open air activities centre; Al Majaz Waterfront with lots of dining outlets, kids fun zones and spectacular water fountains; Al Qasba, Sharjah’s family Venice-style destination area which also has its signature observation wheel offering spectacular views; Heart of Sharjah, the historical area featuring museums, old mansions, towers, and souqs; Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization; Sharjah Aquarium; Blue Souq, where you can experience traditional shopping.
The list is too long to name all and for visitors its not possible to cover all such places during one visit to Sharjah. The emirate will always have something new to offer with lots of new projects yet to come.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Sharjah hosts a variety of festivals annually. Which ones are the most important to your clients, and how do these festivals contribute to the tourism sector?
DJAMILYA ASHYKOVA: Sharjah hosts several major events each year, and with their popularity growing this has a positive impact on the number of visitors coming to the emirate.Some of the popular major events, are; Sharjah
International Book Fair, Sharjah F1 H2O World Championship and Aqua Bike Championship, Sharjah Light Festival and Sharjah Heritage Days.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your future plans to attract more tourists to Sharjah?
DJAMILYA ASHYKOVA: As a hotel we do a lot of marketing activities inside and outside of the UAE, including; sales trips, roadshows, exhibition and fair participation. Our main target is to promote the facilities and services of the hotel, however, we understand that hotels will benefit if the end client will be attracted by the destination itself.
For this reason the awareness of our partners and their clients about Sharjah as a destination and what it has to offer to tourists is so important for us so we contribute by promoting Sharjah’s attractions and events. We also work in close cooperation with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority to see how we can attract more visitors by promoting the emirate.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How successful was 2017 for your property?
DJAMILYA ASHYKOVA: 2017 was a better year when compared to 2016 occupancy, ADR, RevPAR and total revenue, basically through all major indicators. The hotel has witnessed 1.9 percent room revenue growth and 2.2 percent RevPAR growth. The hotel team managed to reach set objectives by controlling costs and working on different source markets and segmentations.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your main feeder markets, and what are the main reasons they are choosing Sharjah as a destination?
DJAMILYA ASHYKOVA: The main segment for our hotel is leisure with the main source market being the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Germany, Nordic countries and China, while we also receive strong support from business groups and government guests.
For the CIS market, Sharjah has always been their main UAE destination due to the reasonably priced hotels that provide easy access to Dubai, and providing the best option to combine a resort holiday with sightseeing.