Dubai has ranked in the top three most popular destinations amongst high-net-worth Chinese travellers, rising from 8th place in 2013 to 3rd place in 2014. The findings were published in a research study conducted by the Hurun Report in association with ILTM Asia and The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2014, which also detailed that 10 per cent of those surveyed named Dubai as a must visit destination in the next three years and placed the UAE within the top 10 most popular countries for shopping.
In 2013 China was one of the top 10 source markets for visitors to Dubai. The Emirate welcomed 275,675 visitors from China, an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2012 and the market remains a key focus for Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing said: “The continual increase in guests from China can be attributed both to the emerging middle-class and increasing propensity for people from China to travel overseas and to the focus of DTCM and our partners on growing this high potential market. With sight-seeing and shopping high on the agendas of Chinese leisure travellers, Dubai is an ideal destination; while for business travellers, through its superior business offering, the Emirate provides access to the wider MENASA [Middle East, North Africa, South Asia] region and also to the markets of Africa and South America. Dubai also offers the largest Chinese trading hub outside of China – DragonMart, with plans for expansion currently underway.”
Barry Brown, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations East, said: “The results are consistent with our customer research, ‘destination Dubai’ is a magnet for Chinese travellers and business. Operating to three cities across China, Emirates’ 35 weekly services to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are operating at maximum capacity. Emirates has been operating passenger flights to China since 2004 and has progressively grown; market access permitting we are committed to further expanding the connectivity between China and Dubai via additional services and launching new routes to cities”.
DTCM regularly conducts roadshows and market specific-campaigns to ensure Dubai is positioned as a destination of choice with the Chinese traveller, and the 2013 opening of DTCM’s fourth office in China was followed in April of this year by the emirate welcoming the single largest incentives group in its history, comprising of over 14,500 delegates from China – an achievement made possible by the combined efforts of a number of Dubai’s governmental and private entities
“The Chinese market is incredibly important to us and our strategy is to position Dubai as a foremost destination for both leisure and business travellers by continuously evolving our broad and diverse tourism offering to cater to the more experienced traveller as well as targeting a new generation of first-time travellers,” continued Issam Kazim.
Rob Weeden, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Shangri-La, said: “This is terrific news for Dubai but also not surprising to see our destination moving up the ranking of preferred destinations for Chinese high net worth travellers. Dubai and the UAE enjoys a wonderful portfolio of unique tourism attributes that absolutely lend to the development of bespoke travel arrangements and bragging rights for the Chinese traveller. With Chinese investment in Africa growing rapidly we are also seeing a developing trend of business travel increasing with Dubai becoming the midway point. Business travel has a habit of becoming a wonderful catalyst for family leisure travel; It’s fair to say that there are blue skies ahead for Dubai as it relates to Chinese inbound tourism. Dubai hoteliers and tourism service providers have made significant advances in engineering the tourism product and service delivery to ensure we cater to the needs of the Chinese traveller. We know that Chinese cuisine and colleagues with Chinese language skills are prerequisites for success for example. Dubai hoteliers and tourism service providers have made significant advances in engineering the tourism product and service delivery to ensure we cater to the needs of the Chinese traveller. We know that Chinese cuisine and colleagues with Chinese language skills are prerequisites for success for example.”
As well as an increase in visitors from China, there is also a growing Chinese community in Dubai, with important dates such as Chinese New Year taking centre stage on the city’s events calendar. Celebrations in 2014 included the Burj Al Arab illuminating its sail with a red dragon; the hotel also hosted lion dances, musical performances and calligraphy demonstrations. Special Chinese tasting menus were on offer throughout Dubai’s restaurants and hotels as well as promotions, traditional dance performances and fireworks. Lafayette Gourmette at The Dubai Mall also hosted Chinese cookery lessons with discounts on Chinese merchandise.