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UAE: TIME to tap China market potential

Mohamed Awadalla, Area Vice President, TIME Hotels Management.

UAE based hotel group looking to grow inbound Chinese visitor numbers as dragon economy forecast to reach 84 million travellers by 2015; TIME Hotels Management to meet key travel buyers at forthcoming Chinese Visitor Summit

The growth in inbound visitor numbers from China to the UAE has prompted TIME Hotels Management to augment its strategic marketing efforts in order to target this increasingly influential sector as the number of Chinese travelling overseas is forecast to hit 84 million by 2015, and 100 million by 2020.

The World Tourism Council (WTC) say around 70 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2011, up by over 38% on 2010 figures, of which an estimated 300,000 Chinese tourists visited the UAE last year spending US$334 million according to Mastercard research.

“Officials have released data that shows outbound tourism from China has grown 20% in the first five months of 2012, which is consistent with our experience and that of the Dubai market overall. We too have seen a significant increase of inbound Chinese business to our Dubai properties over the last 12 months, with the TIME Grand Plaza in Al Qusais reporting an 86% rise in room nights year-to-date from leisure visitors, and our Al Barsha property, has been witnessing a rise in Chinese corporate business, especially long-staying guests,” said Mohamed Awadalla, Area Vice President, TIME Hotels Management.

Per capita spending by Chinese visitors is also reportedly the highest, at AED4,092 compared with AED3,477 per average British tourist and AED3,996 per average Kuwaiti tourist. But this pales almost into insignificance once compared with global spending figures of $72 billion last year, ranking third highest spenders behind the Germans and Americans at $84 billion and $79 billion respectively.

To capitalise on opportunities to grow this lucrative sector still further, TIME Hotels Management is participating in next month’s inaugural Chinese Visitor Summit, jointly organised by Dubai-based NPI and i2i Group China, which will bring together over 75 top tier Chinese travel buyers – with budgets exceeding US$5 million – with leading tourism industry suppliers.

Clearly one of the main drivers is retail, vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free, Sean Staunton said of the annual turnover of US$1.46 billion, some 18 per cent was attributed to Chinese travellers, although they made up less than four per cent of the total numbers. Forty per cent of watch sales, 32 per cent of cosmetics and 20 per cent of sunglasses were made to that market. Indeed, according to Global Blue, a shopping tourism company, 20% of all global tax-free shopping is made by Chinese shoppers.

“We’ve been tracking the travel patterns of the dragon economy tourist since the Chinese government granted the UAE ‘approved destination’ status in 2009. With a flying time of around eight hours, and the recent surge in connectivity with route expansion by both Emirates and Etihad, as well as Chinese carriers, the UAE is a hugely popular destination, offering high quality hotel accommodation as well as upscale retail opportunities that appeal to the growing number of affluent Chinese visitors,” said Awadalla.

The two-day Chinese Visitor Summit, which will be held in Dubai from 5-6 September, includes face-to-face meeting opportunities and the chance to participate in a series of interactive sessions covering multiple aspects of doing business in the Chinese marketplace, complemented by a number of networking events.

“Our packed appointment schedule will give us one-on-one face time with over 40 high profile buyers as well as allowing us to gain insight into the intricacies of doing business with prospective Chinese partners and opportunities to better understand cultural nuances that can be integrated into our operation to secure future business,” explained Awadalla.

“Understanding this unique market is key to tailoring our offering and becoming a preferred partner in the region. For example, leisure travellers typically split their stay between several hotels during a three to seven-night stay, and so our portfolio of city centre properties is attractive to Chinese visitors looking for a single city multi- experience stay,” he added.

Both the TIME Oak Hotel & Suites and TIME Grand Plaza Hotel are situated within easy reach of major retail destinations such as Mall of the Emirates and Mirdiff City Centre, which include the high-end retail stores favoured by the brand-conscious Chinese tourist; as well as providing the full spectrum of entertainment options from desert safaris to city tours.

Guests staying at TIME hotels also have the preferred accommodation option of twin-bedded rooms and all guestrooms and suites come equipped with a hot water kettle, which is an essential for every Chinese traveler, whose staple travel snack is a ‘Pot Noodle’ or congee (rice porridge). Of course Mandarin speaking staff and accepting certain Chinese debit cards is also a plus.


Source: Zawya.Com – Press Release – 27 August 2012

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