Approximately 875,000 Chinese tourists visited Dubai in 2018
Hotel operators across Dubai have strived to adapt to meet the needs of a massive influx of Chinese tourists visiting the emirate, according to Slim Zaiane, the general manager of the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates.
According to official statistics from Dubai Tourism, Chinese tourist numbers rose 12 percent in 2018 to reach 875,000. Between January and June 2019, over 501,000 Chinese tourists visited the emirate.
The UAE introduced visa-on-arrival for Chinese tourists in September 2016.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Zaiane said that “it’s very promising to see that Dubai is no longer an unknown for the Chinese”.
“A lot of hoteliers are adjusting their offerings in terms of food and beverage, or the Chinese habits when they travel,” he added.
In the case of Kempinski, Zaiane said that the hotel has ensure that it has “a lot of Chinese-speaking team members”.
“We adapted as well in terms of WeChat payments,” he said. “We are adjusting to what makes their life easier. They have different habits in terms of traveling than the other usual suspects in the Dubai market.”
Additionally, Zaiane said that the increase in Chinese tourists benefits Dubai’s hospitality industry as a whole by ensuring that occupancy rates remain high despite the plethora of hotels that have opened or are in the pipeline.
“There’s always new diversification and always new source markets that we can look to and potentially drive forward the demand,” he said. “It was the right move, to maintain decent occupancy numbers for the coming years.”
To help Chinese tourists in Dubai, earlier this year Dubai Tourism launched the Dubai Mini Assistant with 10 new mobile-based digital audio tours.
The Dubai College of Tourism also launched updated ‘Chinese Traveller Standards’ earlier this year for tourist-facing staff across the city to help them deliver personalised Dubai experiences to guests.
A report from Colliers International published in December found that across the GCC, the number of Chinese tourists is expected to increase 81 percent from 1.6 million in 2018 to 2.9 million in 2022.