Sharjah, UAE, has seen a 70% rise in hotel occupancy in July compared with the same period in 2009, according to a report by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Department.

The report revealed that GCC tourists constituted 45% of Sharjah’s visitors.

The number of hotel guests increased by 14% to 68,363 compared with 59,888 guests last year, while the number of nights spent at hotel apartments increased by 12% to 65,626.

The growth was attributed to the city’s culture, affordability and proximity to Dubai, according to

Average rates for five-star hotels in the city range between AED450 ($125) and AED500 ($136) per night, while four-star hotels charge between AED200 ($54) and AED300 ($81.6) per night.