Dubai to benefit from massive rise in Chinese outbound tourism

Dubai to benefit from massive rise in Chinese outbound tourism

Dubai will prove one of the main beneficiaries of the coming boom in Chinese outbound tourism, according to a new forecast by Oxford Economics.

The research predicts a near doubling of Chinese outbound travel in 2024, bringing it within 22% of the pre-pandemic peak of 155 million Chinese tourists who visited destinations overseas in 2019 and collectively spent more than US$250 billion.

By 2025, outbound travel from China is expected to fully recover, with the Middle East, particularly Dubai, set to be the first region worldwide to recapture its Chinese visitor base.

Chinese interest surges

This outlook is echoed by organisers of next month’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, who expect to host twice the number of participants from China compared to the 2019 instalment of the event.

The resurgence is largely attributed to China lifting its COVID-19 travel restrictions early last year, which resulted in a 540% increase in bookings for overseas travel during the Chinese New Year, according to data published by ATM on behalf of Chinese travel website

This trend is underscored by an uptick in spending; data from Alipay shows that Chinese overseas transactions during the 2024 New Year were 7% higher than in 2019.

Dubai on track to welcome 1m+ Chinese visitors

Dubai has long ranked among the top destinations for Chinese tourists in the Middle East. The city welcomed more than one million Chinese visitors in 2019 and is on track to surpass this figure in 2024.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME at ATM, noted that Dubai’s quick recovery is partly due to the high demand from young, affluent Chinese tourists seeking premium travel experiences.

“Analysts are confident that this year we could see Chinese visitor numbers double year-on-year, with major destinations in the Middle East recovering quicker than any other internationally, especially for luxury travel,” she commented.

The influx of Chinese tourists spells great news for Dubai, particularly in regard to the growth of its retail, hospitality, and real estate sectors. Moreover, Dubai’s strategic initiatives to accommodate the needs of Chinese visitors, such as training Mandarin-speaking staff working in the city’s hospitality sector, underscore its commitment to offering the very best experiences to this fast-growing tourism source market.

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