First batches of Chinese tour groups started arriving in UAE

 Tuesday, February 7, 2023 


The first batches of Chinese tour groups have started arriving in the UAE after nearly three years of pandemic-related curbs, the Gulf News reported citing travel agents. While the number of travellers from China is yet to go back to pre-pandemic levels, individual tourists and small groups of approximately 10 persons have already started touring the country, they added.

Husain Iqbal, Senior Divisional Travel GSA at Sharaf Travels, expects a large influx of travellers after March. “The numbers are not big, but it’s a good start. But the main thrust of business coming in from hotels will be seen after the second week of March,” said Iqbal.

“China is a big source market for UAE. However, even without the numbers from the country, the UAE is doing exceptionally with inbound tourism this season,” he added.

Pilot programme
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has launched a pilot programme wherein tour agencies and online travel companies of 20 countries have been allowed to organise overseas travels for Chinese citizens and UAE is one of them.

“China will allow group tours and flight and hotel services to 20 countries, including Thailand, Russia, UAE, and New Zealand, starting February 6,” the ministry said.

Zhang Yiming, the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE, said, “China has decided to resume outbound group tours of Chinese citizens on a pilot basis in 20 countries, including the UAE. It is believed that the grand occasion of Chinese tourists flocking to the UAE for sightseeing and shopping before the epidemic will soon reappear.”

Almost 17 million visitors visited Dubai in 2019, with Chinese visitors making up 990,000 of that number ― an increase of nearly 15 per cent over the previous year. With the arrival of the Chinese tourist groups, industry leaders are hopeful that UAE, predominantly Dubai’s tourism numbers, will surpass its 2019 levels of 38.4 million.

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