Dubai: Top Strategies to Lure Chinese Tourists

Dubai continues to be an attractive destination for Chinese tourists in 2024, with a growing number of visitors from China, good for local travel agencies, hospitality , shopping and entertainement business.

Dubai and Chinese tourists in 2024

  1. Increasing International Visitors: In the first 11 months of 2023, Dubai hosted approximately 15.37 million overnight international visitors, marking an increase of about 20% annually. This performance was 2.5% higher than the same period in 2019, prior to the pandemic​​.
  2. Top Source Markets: While specific figures for Chinese tourists in 2024 are not available, data from the first half of 2022 indicates that the top five source countries for visitors to Dubai were India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and Russia. These countries collectively accounted for over 40% of all visitors. Although China wasn’t among the top five, it has been a significant source of visitors in previous years​​.
  3. Tourism Sector Recovery: Dubai’s tourism sector has shown strong resilience and recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, as evidenced by the increasing numbers of visitors and the performance of the hospitality industry. The emirate has been consistently ranked as a popular destination for international travelers, including Chinese tourists, in various travel awards and surveys.
  4. Hotel Industry Performance: The hotel industry in Dubai has been thriving, with a high occupancy rate and a substantial number of room nights sold. In 2021, there were 31.47 million room nights sold in Dubai’s hotels, with an average stay of 4.6 nights. This performance demonstrates the city’s appeal as a travel destination and its capability to accommodate a large number of tourists​​.
  5. Diverse Attractions and Experiences: Dubai offers a wide range of attractions and experiences that appeal to international tourists, including Chinese visitors. From luxury shopping and dining to cultural sites and adventure activities, the city caters to various interests, contributing to its status as a leading global tourism destination.*

To attract Chinese tourists to Dubai, there are several effective strategies that can be implemented:

  1. Optimize website for Baidu: Since Baidu (google in China) is the most popular search engine in China, it’s essential to optimize your website and content for it. This includes conducting keyword research, optimizing website content, meta tags, and landing pages for relevant search terms​​.
  2. Leverage Social Media Platforms: Utilize popular Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Douyin (TikTok), and Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) to reach a wider audience. Precise audience targeting and engaging ad campaigns with compelling visuals and call-to-action buttons are key to attracting attention and driving traffic to your website or booking platforms​​​​.
  3. Collaborate with Chinese Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): Partner with Chinese OTAs like Ctrip, Qunar, and Tuniu to tap into their user base and distribution channels. Listing your tourism offerings on these platforms with accurate information and high-quality images can attract Chinese tourists seeking travel options to Dubai​​.
  4. Implement KOL Marketing: Collaborating with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) or influencers on platforms like Douyin can significantly enhance your reach. Influencers can share their travel experiences, showcasing your offerings in a relatable and authentic way to their large follower base​​.
  5. Content Localization Strategies: Develop a Chinese version of your website, ensuring it is optimized for Chinese internet users. This includes translating content into Mandarin, adapting the design to suit Chinese preferences, and ensuring fast load times within China​​.

By utilizing these strategies, Dubai can effectively target and engage Chinese tourists, maximizing online visibility, and driving qualified traffic to its tourism offerings. Continuously analyzing data and adapting strategies is crucial to optimize results and stay competitive in attracting Chinese visitors.

Dubai a Strategic hub

In recent years, Dubai has strategically reoriented its approach to appeal to the affluent Chinese traveler, becoming fully “China Ready.” This initiative encompassed marketing campaigns on WeChat, specialized training programs, and partnerships with Chinese tour operators. A pivotal moment came in 2016 with the decision to grant visas-on-arrival to Chinese nationals, leading to a significant uptick in tourism. By 2019, Dubai welcomed nearly one million Chinese visitors, a substantial increase over three years, expert predict similar data for 2024/

The pandemic initially reduced these numbers, but recent data indicates a resurgence. China, once the 17th largest source of tourists in January, rose to the top 10 by April and became the eighth-largest by July, with a remarkable 311% increase in visitors to Dubai.

As the post-pandemic world takes shape, Dubai is experiencing a rise in Chinese tourist arrivals. This trend raises the question of whether this influx from a large, high-spending Chinese demographic could potentially transform the tourism landscape of the Middle East.

In 2019, nearly a million Chinese tourists visited Dubai. This resurgence is partly due to Dubai’s evolving appeal to Chinese visitors.

Dubai is also a business hub for Chinese investors

Shopping in Dubai, main Activity of Chinese visitors

Shopping is still a key draw, with over 20% of Chinese millionaires planning Middle East visits for luxury shopping, as per a 2023 Agility report. The growing competition from China’s own tax-free zones, like Hainan Island, which challenge Dubai’s retail appeal.

The need for cultural training in Dubai, pointing out a shortage of Chinese-speaking staff in major hotels, which might discourage potential visitors. For sustained tourism, Dubai needs to move beyond one-time ‘checklist tourism’ and ensure repeat visits.

Full article about that Dubai Shopping

Back to 2019 number?

The upcoming Golden Week travel period positions Dubai as a favored destination for Chinese tourists, with growth exceeding 2019 levels. Additionally, advance bookings for Q4 are on par with pre-pandemic numbers.

Dubai’s role as a strategic travel hub has strengthened post-pandemic, capturing a larger market share of Chinese travel to Europe. To fully leverage this trend, expert advises that Dubai should diversify its offerings, tapping into new trends like glamping and sports tourism, and enhance its presence on Chinese social media.

As Dubai offers more than just shopping, other regional destinations are also enhancing their appeal to Chinese tourists. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority recently appointed popular Chinese actress Liu Yifei as its brand ambassador.

A promotional video features Liu exploring Abu Dhabi’s iconic sites, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Presidential Palace, portraying a range of travel experiences from leisure to culture. This initiative by Abu Dhabi prompts the question of its impact on attracting Chinese tourists this winter.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *