Dubai pins hope on Chinese to herald tourism boom

Updated: 2013-05-06 11:10


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DUBAI - Dubai aims to double the number of visitors from currently 10 million to 20 million per year until 2020 with tourists from China playing a key role in this planning, said Helal Saeed Almarri, the director general of the state-run Dubai tourism body DTCM here Sunday.

Speaking at the official media conference announcing the 4-day Arabian Travel Market Fair to kick off Monday in its 20th edition, Almarri repeated the government's objective it published Saturday to attract 20 million visitors until 2020. He said that DTCM ( Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing) is keen on attracting more visitors from the Eastern hemisphere.

"China is a market of the future for us," said Almarri, adding that "nevertheless visitors from India and Africa are also poised to generate the necessary momentum to reach the ambitious goal expressed by Dubai ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum."

Almarri said that traditional source markets like Germany, the United Kingdom and North America won't be neglected at the same time "as they provide a significant contingent of tourists and business travelers for Dubai."

In 2012, over 300,000 tourists from China spent their holidays in "Fly-Buy-Dubai", as the Gulf Arab sheikhdom is nicknamed due to its vast shopping opportunities and stylish luxury hotels. "The number of Chinese visitors grew by 26 percent last year and we have good reasons to believe that this trend continues." DTCM figures also revealed that during the New Year's week more than 60 percent of hotel guests staying in the world-famous seven-star hotel Burj Al Arab are Chinese.

DTCM sent in recent months several delegations to Chinese cities in order to present Dubai as a holiday destination.