Record breaking visitor growth and continued partnerships solidify Dubai’s commitment to China
Ahead of President Xi Jinping of China’s arrival in the UAE later this week, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) reports continued growth in visitors from China. With a robust growth of 119% in overnight Chinese visitors since 2014 and a YOY increase of 41.4% overnight Chinese visitors to Dubai from 2016 to 2017 combined with a number of key agreements signed with major players in China, Dubai Tourism has reconfirmed its continued focus on its fourth top source market. Now one of Dubai’s fastest growing source markets, closing the first five months of 2018 with a record 400,547 visitors, this growth is predicted to continue in 2018.
Speaking ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UAE this week, H.E. 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% 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 pre-loads devices with both user-generated and official cinematographic content of Dubai. 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. Dubai Tourism is also working towards several projects concentrating on innovation and Artificial Intelligence.
These strategic agreements not only increased market penetration with native language content and complimented the marketing activity of Dubai Tourism’s four in-market offices, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu; but also advanced the China-ready commitment of Dubai Tourism for visitors. Private and public sector collaboration on activities such as city-wide Chinese New Year celebrations and upskilling teams to be better able to cater to Chinese traveller requests; development of the Dubai Tourism China mark and continued work with stakeholders and travel partners; are just some of the undertakings by the Department over the past three years, each of which has contributed to Dubai’s success in the Chinese market. 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.