Chinese tourists to Dubai more than double since 2014

Figures released ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the UAE reveal importance of China as source market for Dubai visitors
Chinese tourists to Dubai more than double since 2014
By Sam Bridge
Wed 18 Jul 2018 01:57 PM

The number of Chinese tourists to Dubai have more than doubled in the past four years, according to new figures released on the eve of a visit by President Xi Jinping.

Dubai Tourism reported growth of 119 percent in overnight Chinese visitors since 2014 and a year-on-year increase of 41.4 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Combined with a number of key agreements signed with major players in China, Dubai Tourism has confirmed its continued focus on its fourth top source market, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

Now one of Dubai’s fastest growing source markets, China closed the first five months of 2018 with a record 400,547 visitors and this growth is predicted to continue in 2018, Dubai Tourism added.

Speaking ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UAE, Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism, said: "Our approach to engaging Chinese tourists is two-fold, with landmark partnerships, investments and marketing activities undertaken in 48 cities across China, partnered with a city-level China-readiness strategy in Dubai to enhance the experience of Chinese tourists.

"The introduction of visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals in 2016, working in conjunction with the increase in air capacity by national carriers from China – currently standing at 30 flights a week, a 13 percent increase in non-stop seat capacity in 2017- has also contributed to rapid growth."

Earlier this year, Dubai Tourism signed an agreement with Huawei, one of China’s leading smartphone manufacturers, in January which preloads devices with both user-generated and official cinematographic content of Dubai. I

In May, the agreement was expanded further, with Huawei Mobile Services agreeing to offer useful and accessible content about Dubai, in particular through the company’s newly-updated SkyTone travel and roaming apps.

Additional milestones include an MOU with Fliggy, Alibaba’s online travel platform, and strategic alliance with China’s mega internet conglomerate, Tencent to elevate the positioning of Dubai as the preferred destination for Chinese travellers and to launch an audio guide feature on WeChat.

In addition through Dubai College of Tourism, an entity of Dubai Tourism, tour guide training in Mandarin has taken place with over 200 guides trained to date.

China is the world’s number one source market for tourism with 129 million outbound trips in 2017, according to research by Ctrip.

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