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Wed 6 Dec 2017 10:43 AM

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Dubai Tourism partners with 'WeChat' to lure Chinese visitors

Chinese app users get digital maps and information guides to local tourist sites

Dubai Tourism partners with 'WeChat' to lure Chinese visitors

China’s messaging app WeChat has added a city guide for Dubai to its wildly popular messaging app, to help tourists better navigate around the city.

Chinese mobile app revealed their CityExperience Mini Program in partnership with Dubai Tourism at an event in Shanghai on Tuesday.

The program also saw city guides launched on the software system for two other cities, London and Sydney, in partnership with official UK tourism body VisitBritain and Tourism Australia.

The initiative hopes to boost tourism footfalls in major cities around the world, and keep Chinese users connected to the app while abroad, by providing interactive digital maps on their smartphones and information about popular tourist sites.

Graphic digital guides also teach tourists about the history and culture of the cities, while exploring attractions, shops and restaurants through images and audio guides.

The WeChat application, developed by Tencent and released in 2011, is forecast to have 494 million users in China this year, making it one of the largest standalone messaging apps by monthly active users, according to the company.

Chinese users spent more than 90 minutes a day on the platform this year, whose features include standard messaging like texting, video conferencing and photo/ video sharing, and also has bill payments, ride services and food ordering.

China’s growing middle class has boosted the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Dubai by 60 percent year-on-year in 2017 to 157,000, according to Dubai Tourism.

Last year Chinese overseas spending more than tripled to $261bn from $73bn in 2011, and is expected to increase $429bn in 2021, according to French investment bank Credit Lyonaisse.

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