With 11 pc marketshare, India among top 5 markets for Sharjah

Interview with Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority
/ New Delhi
With 11 pc marketshare, India among top 5 markets for Sharjah

India continued to rank among the top five key markets for travel in Sharjah

With its focus on culture, heritage and nature, Sharjah offers unique experiences for discerning travellers seeking a luxurious trip, Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, tells India Outbound. He adds that India figures among top five markets for Sharjah as Indian travellers seek more premium experiences.
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Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa

How important is luxury travel for Sharjah? 

Sharjah places significant emphasis on luxury travel as one of its primary focuses, offering exclusive experiences to discerning travellers and our focus on this segment of the market aligns with the emirate’s dedication to exceptional hospitality and bespoke experiences, attracting affluent visitors from all around the world, most notably from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. 

The global luxury travel market was valued at around USD 1.38 trillion in 2023, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.9 pc from 2024 to 2030, driven by elite travellers seeking unique experiences, according to Grand View Research. These insights underscore the immense potential and lucrative opportunities within this sector, and its attractiveness to investors and industry stakeholders alike. We are committed to leveraging this growth potential and further enhancing Sharjah’s position as a premier luxury travel destination.

Our luxury and ecotourism projects and destinations, such as the upcoming Lux Al Jabal Resort and Lux Al Bridi along with the well-established ‘Sharjah Collection’ which includes a prestigious ensemble of luxury hospitality projects, serve as prime examples of the combination of sustainability, unforgettable authentic travel experiences, and opulent accommodation. 

Where does the Indian market figure?

In 2023, India continued to rank among the top five key markets for travel in Sharjah with a market share of 11 pc, and has continued to be a great contributor towards Sharjah’s tourism growth. We have witnessed substantial uptick in luxury travel from India in recent years and has shown both increased numbers of visitors and a wider range of source cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai, reflecting a growing preference for premium experiences among Indian travellers. This heightened interest spans various traveller segments, including high-net-worth individuals, luxury leisure seekers, and affluent families, all contributing significantly to the expansion and enrichment of Sharjah’s luxury tourism sector.

What is your USP in terms of luxury offerings and what is new?

Sharjah’s unique selling points as a global destination stem from its fusion of cultural heritage, scenic nature and landscapes, and modern luxury. Our portfolio is driven by authentic experiences that leverage the emirate’s natural and cultural attributes, rich heritage, and history alongside a year-round calendar of cultural events and festivals that serve as major attractions both regionally and globally.

We offer a diverse range of tourist destinations that are widely sought-after, with notable mentions being the Chedi Al Bait Hotel and the Serai Wing, Mleiha Archaeological Centre, historic locations in the ‘Heart of Sharjah’ district, Bait Al Serkal museum, and Bait Obaid Al Shamsi heritage house, to name a few, offering an immersive journey from Sharjah’s rich past to its contemporary state, all within a luxurious setting.

How do you customise for the Indian visitors?

SCTDA adopts a data-driven approach, utilising comprehensive market research and in-depth analysis of Indian travellers’ habits, preferences, and needs. These insights serve as the foundation for our strategic initiatives and campaigns, enabling us to tailor our offerings precisely to meet the expectations of Indian tourists and enhance their overall experience.

We provide personalised itineraries and experiences that resonate with their desire for immersive cultural experiences, adventure-based travel, and family-friendly activities. This includes a diverse range of options, from cuisine choices to cultural celebrations and activities that cater to their specific interests.

How do you reach your target clientele in India? 

Through a multi-faceted strategy, SCTDA ensures effective outreach and engagement with its target clientele in India. This includes the implementation of targetted data-driven marketing campaigns, leveraging digital marketing channels such as social media platforms and targeted online advertising to reach a wide audience of potential Indian travellers. 

SCTDA also actively participates in tourism and travel trade shows in India and partners with Indian travel agencies and tour operators to attract new visitors and develop tailored travel packages. Additionally, the emirate works closely with prominent Indian media outlets and influencers to directly promote its attractions and offerings to Indian travellers.

This comprehensive strategy not only caters to the specific needs of Indian travellers but also amplifies Sharjah’s visibility and appeal in the Indian market, promoting the emirate’s attractions directly to this key market segment and encouraging them to explore all that Sharjah has to offer.

Is there a conflict between sustainability and luxury?

Sustainability holds paramount importance for Sharjah, as it aligns with the emirate’s commitment to responsible tourism practices and preserving its natural and cultural heritage for future generations. 

While luxury offerings often conjure images of extravagance and opulence, Sharjah believes that sustainability and luxury are not mutually exclusive. Instead, they can complement each other to enhance the overall tourism experience. By integrating sustainable practices into luxury offerings, such as eco-friendly accommodations, conservation initiatives, and responsible tourism activities, we ensure that visitors can indulge in luxurious experiences while also contributing to environmental and social stewardship. This approach enhances the appeal of Sharjah as a luxury destination while reinforcing its commitment to sustainability.

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