Dubai will be a hot destination for Chinese tourists in the coming decade, preferring the emirate over London, Paris and Sydney, according to a new study by a global hotel chain.
Favourable economic and demographic trends shaping the Chinese travel market are set to fuel huge increases in the number of Chinese travellers visiting the UAE over the next decade, said ‘The Future of Chinese Travel’ report published by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in partnership with Oxford Economics.
The emirate will remain the most popular choice for Chinese travellers in the Middle East and Africa region (Mena) as tourist arrivals are set to almost double (up by 97 per cent) to more than 540,000 travellers by 2023 as compared to 276,000 in 2013, it said.
The travel, retail and entertainment centres of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have led the region, attracting an increasing number of Chinese tourists on leisure trips and cruises.
“Over the next decade, growth in arrivals to and nights spent in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is expected to top that of other major city destinations throughout the world, such as London and Paris in Europe and Sydney in the Asia Pacific region,” the report noted.
Total spending by Chinese tourists is estimated to jump by 60 per cent in 10 years, from $488 million (Dh1.8 billion) in 2013 to $781 million (Dh2.86 billion) in 2023. An average stay will be approximately 3.2 nights during the 2013-23 period.
“Dubai is among the top destinations in [the number of nights spent per visit], despite the average number of Chinese arrivals to Middle Eastern cities falling behind that of destinations in the other regions,” said the report.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) earlier this month said Dubai’s hotel establishments received 11.63 million guests in 2014, registering a 5.6 per cent increase over guest arrivals in 2013.
According to DTCM, China moved from tenth position to seventh, experiencing 24.9 per cent growth in the last 12 months with 344,329 hotel guests compared to 275,675 in 2013.
Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Office, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said the UAE is a key growth market in the Middle East.
“As the volume of Chinese travellers grow in key cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the country, we must also ensure we are ready to cater to their and we are pleased to share that today nearly 40 per cent of our hotels in the UAE are now China Ready accredited. In the years ahead we will work towards growing this number alongside the growth that we can expect from Chinese guests."
Globally, 90 million Chinese households will be travelling overseas by 2023.
Abu Dhabi is expected to receive more than 177,000 Chinese travellers by 2023, a huge increase of more than 300 per cent from just over 44,000 in 2013.
The report also reveals the opportunities this forecast growth will present, as Chinese traveller preferences evolve towards long-haul, leisure-driven travel. The study reports that increases in leisure and retail spend will contribute to significant increases in the value of Chinese travellers to local economies.