Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has announced a strategic agreement with Chinese conglomerate, Tencent, that will allow Chinese tourists in Dubai to use the Internet company’s offerings including WeChat and WeChat Pay as an option for mobile payment at local outlets.
In parallel, Dubai Tourism will encourage Dubai merchants to leverage the Tencent Cloud and media solutions to enhance the overall city-experience for Chinese visitors. The agreement will result in ecosystem-wide strategies spanning the Tencent network to expand Dubai Tourism’s marketing reach and penetration within China – one of the fastest growing source markets for Dubai.
Issam Kazim, CEO of DCTCM, said that Tencent is a significant partner for Dubai Tourism with considerable reach in the Chinese market through its widespread digital network solutions. “China is a highly strategic market for us and Dubai Tourism is continually looking to initiate programmes that will enhance our appeal to potential travellers, and ensure the emirate is ‘China Ready’. With its long-standing reputation for innovation, Tencent is the perfect partner to collaborate with on developing and deploying future-forward initiatives to position Dubai as a preferred destination for Chinese tourists and enhance their experience in the city,” he said.
The number of travelers visiting the Middle East from China has significantly increased and industry leaders are suggesting that it will only continue to rise. According to the latest Q1 data compiled by Expedia Group, at least 2.5 million Chinese travelers are expected to visit the GCC each year by 2021. Expedia Group’s data further revealed that Asian travelers topped the list of international demand into the region, with travelers from China ranked in the top three Asian regions traveling to the Middle East.
Paula De Keijzer, senior director of Market Management Middle East, Indian Ocean, Africa, Greece & Turkey at Expedia Group, said: “As seen from the data, there has been a growth in the number of travelers coming from Asia – particularly from China. It is suggested that this growth could be driven by local travel incentives introduced into the region, which include visa on arrival for Chinese visitors and acceptance of Chinese credit cards. These factors could be adding to the appeal of the GCC to Chinese tourists.”
Similarly, Knight Frank Dubai’s data showed that China’s growth in overnight stays started from a low base in 2007, and registered a 1,135 per cent increase to 2017. In the top source markets anticipated in 2026, China is expected to once again register strong growth with an anticipated increase of 97 per cent and an estimated 6.79 million overnight stays.