Visitor summit casts net out to China
China’s leading tour operators arrive in the UAE with a view to increasing business placed
Bringing more Chinese visitors to the UAE is the main aim of the Chinese Visitor Summit taking place in Abu Dhabi (September 2-3) and Dubai (September 5-6). The inaugural summit matches 76 leading tour operators from China with over 100 hoteliers, brand principals and retailers keen to further tap opportunities from the rapidly growing number of Chinese visitors.
“The UAE is receiving just a tiny fraction of outbound Chinese travellers, which numbered 70 million last year and China is expected to become the world’s leading source market for tourism within the next few years,” said Rob Nicholas, Managing Director at NPI, the co-organiser of the summit alongside i2i Group, China. “Right now Chinese visitors here are just 0.3 percent of China’s total outbound market and just three percent of Dubai’s hotel guests in 2011 – yet luxury retailers have been telling us for a long time that the Chinese are their best customers.”
According to combined Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing figures and those from Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, a total of 210,586 Chinese visitors arrived in the destination during 2011 (26 percent more than in 2010). However, they tend to spend well above their weight in numbers.
A recent survey by Visa indicated that the Chinese spend an average of US$700 per transaction, making them the highest spending visitor group in the UAE with a total of US$225 million spent last year.
China is becoming an increasingly important market for hoteliers and retailers – the two main groups currently benefitting from the influx of travellers. The summit will allow them to meet travel buyers responsible for bringing the majority of Chinese tourism to the UAE, as well as educating them on the Chinese visitor in a customised conference programme.
Commenting on China as a source market, Yigit Sezgin, Global Director of Marketing for Carlson Rezidor commented: “China looms large on the horizon for us and it has become a ‘must’ to have full time Chinese employees. We are proactively recruiting on the HR side from China to fulfill this need.
“We’re also adapting all of our sales and marketing collaterals to accommodate the Chinese market as well as making changes within the hotels, ranging from including TV channels and dining options that will appeal to this important market. We also plan to raise the awareness of our brands through various sales and marketing activities in China to capture the outbound market,” he said.
Buyers attending the summit represent more than 1,000 tourist offices throughout China. They are here to discover the destination for themselves and meet key suppliers, which include The Dubai Mall, Ferrari Abu Dhabi World and all the leading hotel groups.
The Chinese buyers are excited to be coming to a destination that is increasingly on their clients’ wish-lists. “We have seen a lot of publicity in China about The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa in particular and are looking forward to discovering the destination for ourselves so we can better sell it to our clients,” said Sun Anqing, President of Shanghai Pan Asia International Travel Service. While Li Jia, Vice-CEO of China Space Travel pointed out that “the UAE is a very small part of our business at the moment, but that means there is the potential to grow substantially”.
Co-organiser of the Chinese Visitor Summit, Alexander Glos, from i2i Group commented: “Leading destinations understand the value of Chinese tourism. This event in the UAE will accelerate business from China for all industry stakeholders.”
The Chinese travel buyers are accompanied on the trip by 10 hosted media to report on the attractions of the UAE to Chinese visitors, as well as dignitaries including the President of the Chinese Tourism Academy.
The Chinese Visitor Summit takes place in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Viceroy Hotel, Yas Island from September 2-3 and in Dubai at The Meydan Hotel from September 5-6. Further information available at www.chinesevisitorsummit.com
About the organisers:
NPI is a specialist producer of media for the tourism and retail sectors throughout the Gulf and wider Middle East. Since 1997 its portfolio has grown to 16 titles that support tourism in nine destinations and luxury visitor magazines in four languages, including Mandarin. The company’s principals have more than 50 years’ experience working in media across 15 countries and have prioritised the development of communication platforms to address the significant opportunities presented by Asian markets, particularly China.
Partnering with i2i Group China in 2012 to host the Chinese Visitor Summit marks a new and unique opportunity to provide an event-based platform to support existing and new clients through face-to-face introductions. www.npimedia.com
Founded in 1999, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, i2i Group China is partnering NPI in developing the CVS in the UAE. In China, i2i offers business development, marketing, sales, PR and media communication services for global destinations, hotels and travel suppliers focused on growing their businesses from China. i2i is the producer of the Active America Conference in the US, bridging Chinese buyers with North American suppliers. i2i published the annual China Travel Operators and Agents Directory, listing over 900 researched and confirmed outbound travel buyers, as well as various other travel industry research and source documents. www.i2i-m.com