China is becoming an emerging source market for Dubai's tourism sector and the Middle East city has stepped up partnerships with Chinese firms to tap the world's largest outbound tourism market, according to Dubai's tourism authority.
China became Dubai's fifth largest source market in 2017 and is one of its fastest growing. Over 760,000 Chinese tourists visited Dubai last year, while about 258,000 Chinese visited Dubai in the first quarter of 2018, up 12 percent year on year, according to Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).
"Based on the latest statistics, we are truly confident that Chinese visitors will play a huge role in helping us realize Dubai's Tourism Vision, which aims to welcome 20 million visitors per year by 2020," he said.
Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has stepped up efforts to further increase the number of tourist arrivals from China with a major marketing and promotional campaign run in collaboration with top Chinese players in the travel, ICT, and internet sectors.
During the past week, Dubai Tourism inked partnerships with Alibaba's tourism branch Fliggy, Huawei Consumer Business Group, and Tencent to roll out digital, social, and mobile-led promotional services to attract more Chinese travelers.
Dubai Tourism carried out a campaign in collaboration with leading Chinese online travel agency Ctrip to increase visitors to Dubai during the first quarter for 2018 and are currently running a similar campaign on Ctrip for Q2.
The number of independent travelers is increasing thanks to the emirate's visa-free policy for Chinese visitors, according to Kazim.
To cater to the growing number of Chinese tourists, Dubai has been promoting its China Ready program with measures such as introducing popular mobile payment service Alipay in major shopping destinations.
"Dubai continues to draw Chinese visitors in even bigger numbers and our aim is to sustain this momentum. This makes it imperative on our part to reach out in every way possible to ensure further growth from this massive market," said Kazim.