Appetite for Chinese visitors

The maiden Dubai China Conference concluded successfully with over 900 delegates at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. The two-day event featured workshops and informative guest speakers offering valuable insights from Chinese as well as local industry experts.

TT Bureau

At the two-day conference, guests dived into Dubai’s China-readiness strategy, while many industry partners engaged the august audience through their presentations. There were workshops hosted by Mafwengo, Fliggy and Alipay enabling attendees to meet the teams to discuss collaborations, while Meituan and DaZhongDianPing delved into the digital cooperation trends in Dubai. The comprehensive programme demonstrated the clear appetite for attracting Chinese visitors and engaging with market leaders in the travel and technology space.

With exponential growth in overnight visitors from China, the event offered a clear indication of the market’s rising prominence as one of Dubai’s fastest-growing source markets, after closing the first eight months of 2018 with a record 578,000 visitors – a growth of 9 per cent over the same period in 2017. While demand from Chinese travellers is increasing at a quicker rate than capacity, visitation growth is supported by a 9.5 per cent increase in air capacity over the last five years. Furthermore, the percentage of those on China Dubai flights who stay in Dubai has increased by 29.2 per cent highlighting the increase in demand for elongated stopovers for Chinese tourists. Examining consumer spend of Chinese tourists in Dubai during 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, there was a 6 per cent increase in share of spend on hotels and local transport with a 5 per cent increase in spend on leisure and entertainment.

The ongoing relationship between China and Dubai is underpinned by the emirate’s China-readiness strategy. Incorporating a series of large-scale initiatives in collaboration with key partners like Alipay and WeChat Pay to further enhance the visitor experience of Chinese tourists, the ongoing support and investment through private and public sector collaboration further reinforces the commitment from both markets.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, commented, “As Dubai continues to gain traction as a preferred destination of choice for Chinese travellers, we are actively working with our public and private sector partners and stakeholders to facilitate a city-wide conversation to continue to tap the true potential of this market. The purpose of this conference has been to create a platform for industry leaders and partners to come together to not only share the best practices and technical industry insights, but also encourage all stakeholders to find synergies that fuel our local endeavours in making Dubai more China-ready.

Roger Qui, General Manager, EMEA, Ctrip Destination Marketing, said, “The China conference held by Dubai Tourism provided a great opportunity for communication as we better understood the destination, whilst getting local partners to learn more about Ctrip. We are looking forward to strengthening our cooperation both with Dubai Tourism and all partners in Dubai, so that we can provide Chinese tourists with higherquality and more professional stories.”

Timothy Kelly, General Manager and Senior Vice President — Operations Atlantis, The Palm, said, ” China continues to be a leading source market for us with a record-breaking 18 per cent increase of Chinese guests during this year’s Chinese New Year period. We look forward to welcoming more Chinese guests as they choose Dubai as a must-visit tourism destination over the coming years.”

Badr Abbas, Senior Vice President— Commercial Operations Far East, Emirates, said, ” With China being the largest trading partner of the UAE, we are pleased to contribute to the growth of trade between the two nations. Emirates was the first airline to establish non-stop connectivity between the Middle East and China. China is an important business and leisure destination for Emirates and we are committed to offering Chinese tourists and business travellers a product that is at the forefront of innovation.”

Olivier Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group, said, “The Dubai China Conference served as a strategic initiative to strengthen Chinese tourist arrivals to the city. Emaar Hospitality Group has a strong track record of hosting Chinese visitors, offering them exceptional hotels in iconic locations that meet their aspirations. With plans to expand our brand to the country, we look forward to fostering our market leadership in welcoming Chinese guests.”

Sue Wheatley, Director — Sales and Marketing Fairmont, The Palm, said, ” It is indeed a matter of delight for us to be a part of the Dubai China Conference. The event enabled us to better understand Chinese tourism and connect and network with a number of significant partners and other stakeholders.”

Freddy Farid, Area General Manager, Gloria Hotels & Resorts, said, “I think it is a very informative platform, in the sense that some of the information we were unaware of, especially the scale and size of the China market and how much emphasis Dubai Tourism is putting into it. We think it is a great initiative, the C-Trip presentation was really amazing, and the figures shared were quite compelling.”

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