Sharjah: Sharjah’s largest ever delegation, comprising more than 20 government and private organisations, arrived in Washington, D.C. on Friday, for the first roadshow in the US organised by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) under the slogan, ‘Sharjah — Promising Opportunities, Global Horizons’.

Taking place from Monday until October 4, the roadshow aims to promote Sharjah’s investment, business and cultural offerings — as well as to explore avenues of cooperation with US companies and organisations.

According to organisers, the four-day roadshow aims to strengthen relations with the US, identify Sharjah as a distinguished business, tourism and cultural destination in the region, highlight its attractions and investment opportunities and explore avenues of cooperation with US firms in educational, health and cultural sectors.

Speaking on the occasion, Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, chairman of the Sharjah Media Centre, spoke of the significant role played by the UAE in extending bridges of cooperation and strengthening mutual relations in various fields, as well as the UAE’s keenness to reinforce its relation of friendship and joint action with other countries in the world.

“We pointed out the excellent bilateral relations with the US as well as the mutual respect, strong friendship and the joint cooperation in a number of areas. The delegation’s visit is emphasising our keen desire to expand these relations towards new horizons, driven by the attractive investment climate enjoyed by the UAE, specifically the emirate of Sharjah, making it a safe haven and an ideal destination favoured by investors from all over the world,” he said.

Value of trade ties

Al Qasimi added that as per business data and statistics, trade and investment relations between Sharjah and USA maintained their high rates over the past 10 years, with around 300 US companies in Sharjah alone. Trade between Sharjah and the US reached Dh20 billion ($5.4 billion) in the period from 1991 to 2012. According to US business statistics, the UAE is ranked as the 21st highest investor in the US, with investments totalling $17.34 billion, ahead of many countries in the region.

The roadshow will also see a series of meetings and talks with US media, cultural and art authorities and other organisations.
During the roadshow, the Sharjah delegation will meet the International Financial Corporation (IFC), the US Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, and the US-UAE Business Council, with all three organisations having corporate and individual members.

The travel and leisure industry is one of the key investment sectors that Sharjah will promote during its roadshow in the US. The sector achieved high growth rates annually — it touched Dh1.10 billion in 2011 and grew to Dh1.17 billion in 2012. The travel sector is expected to reach Dh1.24 billion by the end of this year, Dh1.32 billion in 2014, Dh1.40 billion in 2015 and Dh1.49 billion in 2016.

The leisure sector includes important areas, the most prominent being hotels and restaurants, with demand for hotel rooms expected to increase by 6.2 per cent in the period from 2012-2016.

Consumer spending in restaurants is expected to grow to Dh4.66 billion in the period from 2012-2016, with a growth rate of 4.6 per cent and future revenues touching about Dh1.15 billion. Expected revenue generated from supply and demand for restaurants is expected to hit Dh5 million by the end of this year, and touch Dh6million in 2016.