Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Chinese and Russian visitors boost Dubai tourism numbers

Chinese visitors were granted visa on arrival starting in November, while Russian tourists received the same privilege last month.
Chinese and Russian tourists have been granted visa on arrival privileges. Antonie Robertson/ The National
Chinese and Russian tourists have been granted visa on arrival privileges. Antonie Robertson/ The National

The number of tourists visiting Dubai increased by 12 per cent year-on-year to more than 3 million during the first two months of the year, thanks to a growing number of travellers from China and Russia.

The number of tourists from China increased by 60 per cent year-on-year to 157,000, while the number of Russian visitors rose 84 per cent to 65,000 in the first two months.

Chinese visitors were granted visa on arrival starting in November, while Russian tourists received the same privilege last month.

“Ultimately, our collective aim is to make it as easy and seamless as possible for any prospective tourist from our diversified base of source markets to visit and revisit Dubai,” Helal Almarri, the director general of Dubai Tourism, said on Wednesday. “We still have much to do as we face a dynamic global environment influenced by various macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges.”

Dubai’s hotels, shopping malls, airport and tourism agencies have increased the number of Mandarin-speaking customer service representatives. Chinese payment systems, such as UnionPay bank card, are more widely accepted now, while there are more food and beverage choices for Chinese guests, according to Dubai Tourism.

The five-star Amwaj Rotana on the Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, joined the “Welcome Chinese” programme 18 months ago and has ramped up its offering aimed at Chinese tourists, according to Mark Deere, the general manager of the property.

It has three Mandarin-speaking staff members at the front desk and the all-day dining restaurant, and plans to hire more as demand grows from the Chinese market.

The Welcome Chinese programme is a certification issued by Select Holding – a Shanghai-based consultancy and outbound tour operator – to hotels and hospitality outlets such as shopping malls that show that these are tourist-friendly to Chinese travellers.

The Amwaj Rotana has also enjoyed an uptick in Russian tourists since the end of last year.

“The trend is continuing because of the easy visa and we also introduced some all-inclusive packages for families with children,” Mr Deere said.

The Russian market has recovered after the rouble strengthened and Brent crude prices stayed stable for the majority of last year, especially among couples and families.

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Updated: March 22, 2017 04:00 AM

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