Sharjah – MENA Herald: Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) concluded its participation at the International Russian Travel Market OTDYKH Leisure 2016 exhibition for the 14th time. The exhibition took place at the Expocentre Fairgrounds in Moscow on September 21-24, 2016.

The Authority headed a delegation from Sharjah that included government departments from the emirate; namely, the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Sharjah Airport Authority, and Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA); as well as Air Arabia. In addition, the delegation included Radisson Blu, Ramada Hotel, Al Khalidiah Tourism, Hilton Hotel, Coral Beach Resort, Sharjah National Hotels group (Marbella Resort, Holiday International, and Oceanic Hotel) and MH Beach Hotels.

“Russia remains a key source market for the emirate’s tourism sector and has held on to its position as one of the top five countries for inbound visitors to Sharjah,” said His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA. “The first half of 2016 has witnessed a growth of 39% in guest nights from the Russian market against the same period in 2015. Although the markets have not reached the highs of pre 2014, we are confident that with the correct strategies in this region we can rebuild market strength from there. With this in mind, we, consider the International Russian Travel Market OTDYKH to be important as part of our

Russian marketing strategy moving forward. This exhibition provides an opportunity to engage with over 53,000 Russian travel industry professionals clearly demonstrating Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority’s commitment to positioning Sharjah in the minds of members of the travel trade in strategic outbound source markets resulting in more visitors to the Emirate”

Sharjah participated at Leisure Moscow after a few years absence underlying the importance that the Authority is placing on rebuilding Russian trade links. Sharjah’s variety of offerings, from sandy beaches and warm weather contrasting with the Russian weather during the winter months – to family-friendly venues and its image as an authentic Arabian destination, have all guaranteed its attractiveness on the past to this market who are seeking to truly explore the region and immerse themselves in its traditions, identity, and culture.

The Authority’s aim is to raise awareness about Sharjah as a luxury as well as a value for money destination and to clearly communicate the emirates variety of family, leisure and entertainment offerings. These events are a great platform to connect not only with the travel trade but also with key media as well. Participating in events such as the Otdykh Leisure Moscow and organising road shows such as the upcoming China tour, play a vital role in facilitating travellers into Sharjah. OLM will consolidate and build a strong alliance between Sharjah and the Russian tourism sector and create a wide platform of interaction for tour operators, cruise industry, MICE and media specialists creating even more opportunities for first time and repeat travellers to come to Sharjah.

As part of a multi faceted approach the SCTDA 2016 marketing strategy is reaching out to new cities in existing generating regions. Sharjah already employs many Russian speaking staff across its tourism industry from hotel receptionists to tour guides, which helps with the international tourism platform in the emirate. Russia is an increasingly important market with strong flight connectivity directly into Sharjah which SCTDA has balanced with its fully focused marketing strategy to regain the market share impacted by the economic set backs of 2014. The strategy includes an intensive programme of inbound familiarisation visits for

the Russian travel trade and media among further development of Russian based collaterals, direct marketing and increased sales missions.