Chinese New Year heralds tourism influx for Dubai

Credit: Emirates News

Dubai is welcoming a surge in Chinese tourists who are fast becoming some of the biggest overseas spenders, globally.

This weekend marks Chinese New Year, the beginning of the lunar Year of the Horse, but for many well-to-do Chinese it’s a time for an overseas vacation and some luxury retail therapy.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has recognised the value of the Chinese yuan – with around a quarter of a million visitors a year, up 28 per cent annually, according to their most recent figures.

Courtesy of UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

DTCM has strengthened its focus this year, targeting Chinese tourists with valuable offers and discounts, especially during festivals like this weekend’s Chinese New Year.

Dubai’s world famous brands and labels, and favorable prices continually draw the Chinese, who are among the top consumers of luxury products, but constantly on the lookout for cheaper options than their domestic offerings, which attract taxes as high as 40 per cent.

For those who travel here, duty-free shopping was listed among the major attractions for Chinese tourists.

Elmo Kaidullah is the manager of the world’s largest shopping center, The Dubai Mall, and he says Chinese consumers are spending more now on every single purchase than consumers from any other countries.

“We recognize that they are becoming more acute in details, looking after more specific information, they are much more aware about the trend, the changes, the new comers, the new launches in the market,” says Kaidullah.

He says Chinese shoppers generally prefer leather bags, watches, accessories and cosmetics.

He added that their consumption habits have continually evolved with times as they are becoming better informed and more familiar with luxury products.

The DTCM says much of the growth in tourism can be attributed to destination marketing, and as of September last year, they now have four offices based in mainland China.

Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 31 January 2014

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GCC members to discuss boosting links with Australia

Foreign ministers from the seven Gulf Co-operation Council nations are meeting in Abu Dhabi today amid regional political unrest.

While the protests in two member-states, Bahrain and Oman, will be at the top of their agenda, the GCC Secretary-General says relations with Australia are also up for discussion.

According to Abu Dhabi based newspaper, The National,  Abdul Rahman al Atiyyah said “the ministerial council would look at negotiations over trade agreements and strategic co-operation between the Gulf bloc and China, Russia, Australia and the United States.”

This, ahead of the Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd’s visit to the United Arab Emirates later this week, where he will be engaging in “strategic GCC-Australia dialogue”, according to the official Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The role of the Gulf Co-operation Council has taken increasing prominence in recent months. In areas of regional concern, Gulf nations are acting more frequently as a single-entity, and making fewer unilateral decisions.

While discussions for a single currency have been on the backburner in recent times, plans to introduce a single ‘Schengen-style’ visa for GCC entrants are progressing steadily.