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Published on : Saturday, June 24, 2017
Over the past decade, outbound Chinese travelers have reshaped the world tourism market. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has lagged in popularity, but is now seeing a boom in Chinese visitors. This growth is due to local travel incentives introduced into the region, including visas on arrival for Chinese nationals visiting the UAE, and the rising sophistication of Chinese travellers who are seeking new destinations off the beaten path.
The MENA region is seeing a tourism boom from China. Abu Dhabi plans to attract 600,000 Chinese tourists per year by 2021. In Dubai, 540,000 tourists arrived from China in 2016, up from 450,000 a year earlier, making the country a top 10 source market for the emirate.
Thirteen Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong and Taipei, are connected to Dubai with more than 100 weekly flights.
Meanwhile, Ctrip, predicted a 3,500 percent increase in visa applications to the country.
With 42,000 Chinese tourists in 2016, which is a 300 percent year-on-year increase from 2015, Morocco has announced a goal of 100,000 visitors from the Middle Kingdom this year.
Simon Press, Arabian travel market senior exhibition director said, “It’s crucial that tourist hubs throughout the Middle East maximize their reach into mega-markets such as China. Demand cycles, budget trends, tech-savvy hotels, food and beverage, sightseeing, culture and heritage centers, can easily be met in many key destinations across the region.”
It’s no secret that Chinese travellers are some of the most high-spending people in the world. By 2019, Chinese tourists are expected to spend $264 billion abroad. Shopping is vital to most Chinese tourists’ plans, accounting more than half of their spending, and Chinese shoppers abroad are expected to buy more luxury goods this year than tourists from all other countries combined.