Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Abu Dhabi keen to boost Chinese visitor numbers

A tourism delegation led by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) visited three major cities in China to help boost awareness about the emirate as a holiday destination for Chinese travellers.

The delegation, which included Etihad Airways, hotels, attractions and tour operators, visited Chengdu on September 16, followed by Shenzhen on September 18 and finally capital city Beijing on September 20, for the annual roadshow.

China has become one of the largest international source markets for Abu Dhabi hotel guests, with the emirate welcoming 401,316 Chinese hotel guests in 2018. June 2019 figures reveal a 21.8 per cent increase, year-to-date, in visitors from China compared to 2018, with the first six months of 2019 having already seen 209,000 Chinese people visit the emirate. The Department is targeting 600,000 Chinese hotel guests a year by 2021.

DCT Abu Dhabi has continually spearheaded a number of delegations visiting the Chinese market on roadshows and promotional exhibitions. These initiatives have been effective in terms of meeting with stakeholders and exchanging knowledge, generating deals for the emirate’s airlines, hotels, and destination management companies and raising the emirate’s profile as a destination of distinction amongst Chinese travellers, with an ultimate aim of attracting even greater numbers and for longer stays.

Several tourist attractions and hotels across the emirate have already received the China Tourism Academy’s Welcome Chinese Certification, awarded to destinations offering high quality services to Chinese visitors, including Mandarin-speaking staff, while recent legislation now allows Chinese visitors to receive a visa on arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport making the process of staying in Abu Dhabi even easier.

Many leading destinations and hotels across Abu Dhabi also now accept China Union Pay bank cards, making it easier for Chinese tourists to stay and travel.

Saeed Rashed Al Saeed, Destination Marketing Department at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “China now ranks first in the world for outbound tourism, it is a market with tremendous untapped potential. Boasting our diverse range of cultural, leisure and entertainment options and plentiful supply of high-quality hospitality and retail establishments, with this roadshow Abu Dhabi will continue to position itself as an attractive destination for the ever-increasing numbers of Chinese travellers.

“Our priority was engaging with key Chinese tour operators and acquiring new business contacts, introducing them to our latest tourism products and attractions. This year, we also educated local agents as to how the emirate caters to different styles of tourism; for example, both Free Independent Travel and Group Inclusive Tours are rapidly growing in popularity in China. We look forward to further promoting Abu Dhabi’s unique offerings and cultural experiences, packaged to appeal to all types of Chinese visitors.”

Joining the DCT Abu Dhabi delegation were representatives from Emirates Palace Hotel, Etihad Airways, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Arabian Adventures, Experience Hub, Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche, and Qasr Al Watan.

Emirates Palace introduced the Chinese market to its newly opened Indian restaurant, Martabaan, headed by celebrated Indian chef Hemant Oberoi, while Louvre Abu Dhabi brief attendees on the museum’s coming exhibitions and special events.

Fairmont Marina Hotel & Resort also attended the roadshow for the first time, showcasing all the facilities and offerings of its landmark property to the Chinese market whilst Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts returned to China to promote its three properties in Abu Dhabi - Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island, and Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa.

Experience Hub, the trade and promotions arm of Yas Island Abu Dhabi, presented Yas Expert, its new product training programme for travel agents and industry professionals who wish to master all there is to know about Yas Island.

The roadshow also expected to attract more than 300 travel agents and tour operators to explore new and existing business ventures. - TradeArabia News Service