Dubai: The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) expects hotel revenues in the emirate, which have been growing at 12 per cent per annum, to reach Dh830 million by the end of 2019, its chief executive officer (CEO) said on Sunday.
In an email interview with Gulf News, ahead of the Euromoney Emirates 2017 conference, Marwan Jasem Al Sarkal, said the majority of the investments will focus on four-and five-star hotels, revenues from which accounted for 70 per cent of Sharjah’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year
Hotel revenues are expected to reach Dh687 million by the end of this year, he added.
“The more investors Shurooq brings to the emirate, the greater number of world class attractions, and in turn the greater number of tourist,” Al Sarkal said, referring to leisure and tourism.
“We forecast a promising economic growth in the next five years, with sectors such as publishing, industry and tourism to flourish significantly pushing the emirate’s financial and economic performance to excel as a key economic player across Mena [Middle East and North Africa],” he added.
“The future is going to be an enormous hive of activity, with some of the most lucrative projects in the region,” Al Sarkal said.
Among other projects, Shurooq is working on the five-star Mleiha Desert Resort, with 45 exclusively designed vacation villas and the Mleiha Fossil Rock Lodge.
The project is said to be 60 per cent complete, and will officially welcome its first guests by the end of this year.
The emirate is also working on the Heart of Sharjah project, which is touted to be the region’s biggest heritage project to date.
Among other projects, Al Majaz Waterfront recently finalised a Dh35 million extension project, expanding the destination from 231,000 square feet to 284,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space to the destination, according to Al Sarkal.
Other revenue streams
In other revenue streams, Shurooq wants Sharjah Media city to play a strategic and focal driver to the emirate’s entertainment business.
“The movie industry can be highly lucrative and we have seen many high-budget projects in Sharjah in the past,” Al Sarkal said. “It is still certainly an option for us to bring in a new revenue stream in the future and although there have been no concrete discussions so far, it is in the pipeline.”
The UAE has become a symbolic location for several Hollywood, Bollywood, Arabic and multi-ethnic film productions.
The Shurooq projects are initially funded by the government of Sharjah, which serves as a key contributor to attracting unique and strategic investments from investors all around the world, Al Sarkal said. “Furthermore, this support has continuously allowed to improve our emirate’s FDI [foreign direct investment] performance, with further developing new projects that improve Sharjah’s economy.”
Shurooq’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help facilitate investment activities in the emirate, evaluate investment-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete those projects.
The primary sectors for attracting FDI for Shurooq include tourism and leisure, health care, transport and logistics, real estate and the environment.
On May 8 and 9, Sharjah will host the first Euromoney conference to be held in the UAE.