Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) took Sharjah’s tourism proposition to India’s travel trade this month, attending leading Indian international travel exhibitions in Mumbai and New Delhi.
The South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) in New Delhi event attracts 20,000 travel trade attendees, over 30 international tourism boards and more than 850 travel and tourism exhibitors, while OTM in Mumbai attracts over 1,000 exhibitors from 50 countries and 10,000 members of the travel trade.
Led by the SCTDA, Sharjah’s participation in SATTE 2017 included Ramada Sharjah, Golden Tulip Sharjah, Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa, Sharjah National Hotels, Air Arabia, SATA (Sharjah Airport Travel Agency), Cozmo Travels and Auras Tours.
According to tourism authority figures, India has emerged as the fourth largest market for global visitors to Sharjah and the SCTDA has led an ongoing marketing campaign targeting India’s outbound tourism over the past few years, attending key travel events and visiting cities across the country. According to the Indian Ministry of Tourism, 18.33 million Indians traveled overseas during 2014 and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) expects that Indian outbound travel could grow to 50 million by the year 2020.
Sharjah-headquartered budget airline Air Arabia, which launched operations in 2003, began developing the Indian market early on, adding 13 destinations throughout India by 2009. The airline now operates 112 flights between Sharjah and India per week and has offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calicut, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Mumbai, Nagpur and Thriuvananthapuram.
IndiGo is the latest airline to introduce new India-Sharjah connections. The budget operator plans to begin daily non-stop Sharjah-Kozhikode (CCJ) flights from 20 March and daily non-stop Sharjah-Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) flights from 8 April.
Meanwhile, Air India Express, which added three new Sharjah routes last year, now operates 7 direct routes to Sharjah International Airport from Chandigarh (IXC), Kochi (COK), Kozhikode (CCJ), Mumbai (SAHAR), Thiruvananthapuram (TRV), Tiruchirapalli (TRZ) and Varanasi (VNS). Competitor Jet Airways flies daily to Sharjah from Kozhikode, or Calicut (CCJ) and Kochi (COK), both in the south-west coast Indian state of Kerala.
Sharjah’s fast developing tourism sector, strategic location and strong business links with the subcontinent have made the emirate popular with Indian travelers.