By Andy Sambidge
Emirate rises to third place in world, weeks after Chinese firm spent estimated $80m on UAE visit for 14,500 staff
Dubai has ranked in the top three most popular destinations among high-net-worth Chinese travellers, rising from eighth place in 2013 to third this year.
The findings were published in a research study conducted by the Hurun Report in association with ILTM Asia and The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2014, which also showed that 10 percent of those surveyed named Dubai as a must visit destination in the next three years and placed the UAE within the top 10 most popular countries for shopping.
The rankings rise comes just weeks after Chinese firm Nu Skin spent an estimated $80m on a 10-day junket for nearly 15,000 staff members in the UAE.
In 2013 China was one of the top 10 source markets for visitors to Dubai. The emirate welcomed 275,675 visitors from China, an increase of 11 percent compared to 2012 and the market remains a key focus for Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “The continual increase in guests from China can be attributed both to the emerging middle-class and increasing propensity for people from China to travel overseas and to the focus of DTCM and our partners on growing this high potential market."
Dubai also offers the largest Chinese trading hub outside of China – DragonMart, with plans for expansion currently underway, he added.
DTCM said it regularly conducts roadshows and market specific-campaigns to ensure Dubai is positioned as a destination of choice with the Chinese traveller, and last year opened its fourth office in China.
In April, the emirate welcomed the single largest incentives group in its history, comprising of over 14,500 delegates from China.
“The Chinese market is incredibly important to us and our strategy is to position Dubai as a foremost destination for both leisure and business travellers by continuously evolving our broad and diverse tourism offering to cater to the more experienced traveller as well as targeting a new generation of first-time travellers,” added Kazim.
As well as an increase in visitors from China, there is also a growing Chinese community in Dubai, with important dates such as Chinese New Year taking centre stage on the city’s events calendar.
Celebrations in 2014 included the Burj Al Arab illuminating its sail with a red dragon; the hotel also hosted lion dances, musical performances and calligraphy demonstrations.
Special Chinese tasting menus were on offer throughout Dubai’s restaurants and hotels as well as promotions, traditional dance performances and fireworks. Lafayette Gourmette at The Dubai Mall also hosted Chinese cookery lessons with discounts on Chinese merchandise.