By Andy Sambidge
Tourism delegation kicks off five-city roadshow in China in bid to attract more visitors
A 12-strong delegation from Abu Dhabi's tourism industry on Monday kicked off a roadshow in China aimed at building inbound business from the country.
The roadshow, running until May 17, will take in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hong Kong and comes as air connections between China and the UAE capital increase.
China is now Abu Dhabi's 13th largest overseas source market for hotel guests with 10,468 Chinese checking into the emirate's hotels during Q1 of this year - a 17 percent increase on the first three months of 2012.
They delivered 21,030 guest nights, which was up 29 percent on the same period last year with an average-length-of-stay of 2.01 nights, a rise of 10 percent.
"The launch of thrice-weekly flights from Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi in March this year, operated by Etihad's equity alliance partner Air Seychelles, has significantly improved connectivity which was given a welcome boost with Hainan Airlines operating code share flights with Etihad from Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai and moving its Gulf hub to Abu Dhabi International," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, director of Promotions & Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi.
"The good news is more Chinese are coming and they are staying longer," said Al Nuaimi.
Abu Dhabi's stakeholders, conscious of the huge potential of the Chinese market, are now tailoring products and services specifically to win the lucrative outbound Chinese traffic.
Home to almost 20 percent of the global population, China is a rapidly emerging market that has changed the world's tourism landscape.
According to the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO), the Chinese outbound travel market is expected to expand to 100 million by 2020.
The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts China's outbound travel expenditure to reach over $137bn by 2022.