Chinese travellers feed Dubai's 'tourism spring'

Updated: 2012-04-30 07:37


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DUBAI - Dubai registered in 2012 a 27- percent increase in the number of hotel guests from China, the sheikhdom's promotional arm Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) revealed Sunday.

Speaking at a media briefing on the occasion of the largest Middle Eastern tourism fair Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Saleh Al Geziry, director of DTCM's overseas promotion and inward missions, told Xinhua that "Dubai hotels registered in 2012 a total of 193, 000 stays of Chinese nationals, representing a 27-percent increase compared to the previous year."

The number of Chinese people staying in Dubai was higher in reality as 200,000 citizens from China stay at the homes of their family members or friends in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Mark Walsh, group exhibition director of the five-day travel fair ATM, which will kick off Monday, said that the number of Chinese travel agents visiting the congress rises every year. " This year we have a total of 2,400 exhibitors, a 7-percent increase to 2011, and 83 new companies," Walsh said, a total of 9. 3 million tourists visited Dubai last year.

Al Geziry said, "What we witness here is a tourism spring after sluggish years in the wake of the global crisis."

"The Chinese market is important to Dubai. Since both sides, the UAE and China, liberated their bilateral visa policy in September 2009, the DTCM has regularly presented Dubai as a holiday destination in major Chinese cities, and the immense response speaks for itself," said Al Geziry.

Most popular hotel destinations among Chinese travellers are the seven-star hotel Burj Al Arab, the 1537-room luxury resort Atlantis The Palm and the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, which is operated by the Swiss hospitality group M venpick.

"Chinese guests are meanwhile the third largest group in our hotels," said Yasmine Hidalgo, public relations manager at the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, "They like the proximity to the Ibn Battuta shopping mall and of course our Chinese restaurant Shangai Chic. Our visitors from China like the sun, beach and lifestyle of Dubai, but at the same time they also like to feel at home."