China Now Leading Source Market for Abu Dhabi Tourism

Exclusive Interview: Mubarak Al Nuaimi – Director Promotions and Overseas Offices – DCT Abu Dhabi

China is now the leading overseas visitor source market for Abu Dhabi, with the latest figures revealing a year-to-date 32% increase in visitors from China compared to 2017. We asked Mubarak Al Nuaimi – Director Promotions and Overseas Offices – DCT Abu Dhabi for more details.

In the first three months of 2018, 127,300 Chinese visited the emirate, with March alone (40,800) accounting for an impressive 31.6% increase compared to March 2017. The Department is targeting 600,000 Chinese hotel guests a year by 2021. In 2017, we recorded an increase of 60% in the number of Chinese guests – a total of 372,000 – compared to 2016.

What attractions/activities tend to be the most interesting for Chinese visitors in Abu Dhabi?

Emirate-wide we have been focusing on bolstering the culturally-enriching experiences which allow us to distinguish Abu Dhabi from other destinations and we are acutely aware our Chinese travellers seek immersive cultural experiences. The opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in November 2017 serves to reinforce the Emirate’s position as a cultural destination. Additionally, the emirate boasts soughtafter attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is ranked as the world’s second favourite landmark by TripAdvisor. Also, Abu Dhabi and its neighbouring regions Al Dhafra and Al Ain offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience adventure activities and get an in-depth experience into the Emirati culture and traditions with numerous activities including falconry shows, camel races, mangrove tours, among many others. This month we also announced the opening of Warner Bros. World on Yas Island, due to open in July which will again add to our attractions proposition.

WE HAVE FORMED PARTNERSHIPS WITH THE POPULAR TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES WEIBO, WECHAT AND BAIDU TO HELP DCT ABU DHABI REACH MILLIONS OF NEW POTENTIAL CHINESE TRAVELLERS

What would you say are Abu Dhabi’s key selling points for Chinese visitors – setting the destination apart from others in the region – and in the world?

As detailed above we can offer a unique proposition in an incredibly safe environment. Several tourist attractions and hotels across the emirate have already received the China Tourism Academy’s Welcome Chinese Certification, awarded to destinations offering high quality services to Chinese visitors, including Mandarinspeaking staff, while recent legislation now means Chinese visitors do not need a visa to visit Abu Dhabi, making the process of staying in the emirate even easier. Many leading destinations and hotels across Abu Dhabi also now accept China Union Pay bank cards making it easier for Chinese tourists to stay and travel. With a diverse range of leisure and entertainment options and plentiful supply of high-quality hotels and shopping malls, Abu Dhabi will continue to position itself as an attractive destination for Chinese travellers. Moving forward, we will continue to promote Abu Dhabi’s unique offerings focused on presenting the best culturally-enriching experiences to our Chinese visitors who are seeking to experience new cultures. We have actively increased our efforts to capture the awareness of and convert Chinese travellers to visit Abu Dhabi. The efforts focused on lowering access barriers to Chinese travellers by preparing digital platforms, including our website and mobile application to fully support Mandarin-speaking users. We have formed partnerships with the popular technology companies Weibo, Wechat and Baidu to help DCT Abu Dhabi reach millions of new potential Chinese travellers. Chinese New Year is always celebrated here with festivals and promotions, which tie-in with our excellent shopping opportunities.

What are your “star” products at ITB China?

DCT Abu Dhabi will be joined by industry stakeholders including government departments, hotels, resorts, t o u r i s t attractions, leisure facilities, destination management companies, travel and holiday agents – all gathered to showcase over tourism services and products. Much emphasis will be placed on highlighting existing and new products among the Emirate’s expanding portfolio of attractions, experiences and event across the three areas of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain region and Al Dhafra region. The Abu Dhabi stand will also boast specific zones highlighting its diverse offerings such as Cruise Tourism, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Emirati Experiences.

STAND No. 520


Photo: Mubarak Al Nuaimi – Director Promotions and Overseas Offices, DCT Abu Dhabi