Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced its new standards for classification of hotel establishments in the emirate, in line with the implementation of Resolution No. 38 of 2019.
The new standards were announced following a workshop organised by SCTDA for representatives of hotels and other hospitality establishments in Sharjah. The workshop detailed the updated classification criteria for hotel establishments and the process of implementation. The new standards fall within the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to continuously enhance the experience of tourists visiting Sharjah, considering the tourism sector as one of the most important pillars of the national economy.
Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said: “The hotel and hospitality sector is a vital growth driver for the tourism sector in Sharjah. We are confident that the new classifications will reflect positively on the performance of hotel establishments, including enhancements in facilities and services, and further contribute to boosting the hotel industry’s contribution as one of the most important components of the tourism infrastructure in the emirate. SCTDA has developed the classification in line with international standards and local requirements of establishments, with the support of our partners in the government and private sectors, in line with our mission to empower the hotel industry and realize Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which targets 10 million tourist arrivals in the emirate by 2021.”
Al Midfa added: “The new classification system is set to further develop the hotel and hospitality sector in the emirate by incorporating several new standards in addition to existing standards as it raises the level of quality and efficiency of hotel services. Sharjah has witnessed an increase in the number of hotel establishments during past years, and currently has a total of 10,883 hotel rooms, providing ideal services and accommodation options that cater to every visitor’s expectations.”
Over the next five years, the local tourism market will be served by a total of 34 hotel establishments (5,700 rooms), reflecting a 50 per cent increase in the number of new rooms.
SCTDA continues to work on updating the classification and licensing criteria for existing hotel establishments in the emirate and attaining the highest international standards, with the goal of enhancing quality services of hotel establishments and providing more options for tourists. “We also aim to provide an attractive tourism environment which will encourage investors and international companies to invest in Sharjah’s tourism sector,” Al Midfa added.
The new classifications, which fall in line with the strategic objectives of the Sharjah Tourism Vision, look towards stimulating the tourism product locally while also diversifying it across larger overseas markets. The move also aims to enhance the tourism experience of visitors, promoting the adoption of the latest practices and trends in the tourism sector and keeping apace with global developments. In line with this, the hotel sector has been identified as an important part of enhancing the competitiveness of Sharjah.
The new classification system covers a set of criteria that include; ‘Minimum standard for mandatory standards,’ which reflects the minimum expectations of the guest and should meet all presented categories. These criteria usually reflect the minimum building requirements that project developers must consider when making decisions regarding the design and construction of a new project. The second criterion is the ‘Evaluation Standard,’ which shows the quality of the hotel infrastructure, where evaluation requirements focus on the quality of the materials used, maintenance standards, hotel appearance, and cleanliness. The third criterion, ‘Standard of Points,’ is a great added value to the guest experience. It includes distinctive facilities such as anti-fog mirror, electric blinds, or some services such as childcare, express check-in, or the provision of certain services which represent value and benefits for the guest experience. The fourth criteria is called the ‘Guest Experience Index,’ which is generated from all online review platforms that have been used for reservations, guest reviews etc.
These conditions provide the specific services and facilities required by this group. In line with this, seven hotel factors have been created; Airport Hotel Conditions; Beach Hotel Conditions; Boutique Hotel Conditions; Business Hotel Conditions; City Hotel Conditions; Conference Hotel Conditions; and Resort Hotel Conditions.