Sharjah targets tourists from eastern and central Europe

UAE travel operators, including hotels and tour agencies, are exploring new markets to make up for the decline in Russian tourists.

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Sharjah is targeting tourists from central and Eastern Europe amid improving air links.

From June 7 to 12, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority held roadshows in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland.

The move comes as UAE travel operators, including hotels and tour agencies, explore new markets to make up for the decline in Russian tourists.

Hotels in the Northern Emirates have been a big draw for Russian guests.

“We are missing the Russian guests but we are exploring Central Asia, Czech Republic and Poland since last September and getting good results,” said Iftikhar Hamdani, the cluster general manager at Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman and Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman. “Now, we are looking at Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary and to attract more sports clubs from east Europe.”

Tourist arrivals from Russia and CIS countries at Dubai International Airport fell during the first quarter with the declining rouble and low oil prices.

According to the latest data available from March, the number of passengers at Dubai International Airport dropped 31.7 per cent from the same period last year.

Sharjah expects to attract 10 million tourists by 2021, focusing on family tourism. Europe is one of its major source markets.

The European tour followed the April roadshows in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The agency is due to visit more countries in the Arabian Gulf region in the next half of the year.

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