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Michael Kasch Michael Kasch

Michael Kasch, General Manager, Centro Sharjah

KNOWN AS A DESTINATION WITH A RICH CULTURE, SHARJAH GLORIOUSLY STANDS OUT AS A GATEWAY TO THE REGION’S ICONIC ISLAMIC HERITAGE.

MICHAEL KASCH, GENERAL MANAGER, CENTRO SHARJAH DISCUSSES WHAT TRULY MAKES THE EMIRATE STAND OUT.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the main characteristics that make Sharjah stand out as a destination?

MICHAEL KASCH: There is continuous drive by the government to improve the emirate’s offerings to the local and international tourist market. They are effortlessly working to have the heritage sites and areas accessible and ensuring they market the
offerings in the best way possible to their target markets.

For instance, Sharjah Museums Authority recently introduced a cultural app with the aim of bringing forth the culture and art of the museums to new audiences. We cannot dismiss the continued expansion and improvement of infrastructure and lodging options that aim at providing the emirate’s guests a better overall experience.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What top experiences do you recommend to visitors who want to discover Sharjah’s culture?

MICHAEL KASCH: Sharjah has a variety of activities to offer. Mleiha Archaeological Centre provides a lot to learn about Bedouin culture. There are also lots of fun activities one can partake during their visit to Mleiha.

Additionally, museums such as the emirate's Sharjah Heritage Museum, Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah Archaeology Museum, Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi and Sharjah Fort showcase much of Sharjah’s art and culture.

Sharjah Commercial and Tourism Development Authority organises Sharjah Lights Festival annually, which is showcased across the emirate’s various heritage sites, allowing one to visit the sites and be entertained.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Which of Sharjah’s annual festivals are the most popular among your guests?

MICHAEL KASCH: In addition to the Light Festival, Sharjah International Book Fair, the emirate’s equestrian races and shows, International Business Fairs, Sharjah Senior Golf Masters, and Sharjah Children’s Film Festival are a few of the popular events held annually. These events not only bring international guests, but also local tourism is enhanced.

International events such as the Book Fair, Sharjah Senior Golf Masters and others, also place Sharjah’s name on a global scale.

TRAVEL TRADE MENA: What are your main feeder markets, and what are the main reasons they choose Sharjah as a destination?

MICHAEL KASCH: New routes from Air Arabia have definitely made Sharjah a destination of choice to many leisure guests. Additionally, Sharjah Commercial and Tourism Development Authority is continuously marketing the emirate’s leisure and business offerings. The Authority is focused and continues to develop MICE business within the emirate. In return, we are successfully reaping from these efforts.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your future plans to attract more tourists to Sharjah?

MICHAEL KASCH: We believe that by persistently enhancing our quality and service offerings, we will be able to attract more market share. It is also important for us to maintain the guest’s value for money concurrently providing a hassle free stay to our guests.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How successful was 2017 for Centro Sharjah?

MICHAEL KASCH: 2017 was a successful year for Centro Sharjah. We saw an increase in the average rate, room revenue and food and beverage revenue in comparison to 2016. Our occupancy was also maintained.

Our success can be attributed to the success of Sharjah’s tourism industry that is getting back up on its feet after the 2015 – 2016 decline due to the drop in oil revenues and drop of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ market. It is evident that there is a rise in the emirate’s tourism figures and it is favoured by factors such as the increment of flight routes in and out of Sharjah.