The UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, is set to host from Sept. 2-3, The Chinese Visitor Summit, aimed at giving top Chinese tourism producers specific destination networking opportunities.
The event will return to the UAE capital this year amid networking and conferences hosted at the recently-opened, beachfront Ritz Carlton Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi.
Organised by Nicholas Publishing International (NPI) in partnership with the Shanghai-based i2i Group and backed by Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), this year's event will bring 75 top Chinese outbound tourism bookers to the UAE capital in a bid to increase the emirate's Chinese visitor numbers to participating destinations, attractions and hotels.
The Chinese delegation, which will also comprise 10 leading Chinese media, will include CEOs, general, product, outbound and MICE managers, sports events producers from wholesale, retail, leisure, golf, adventure and FIT operators.
Rob Nicholas, Managing Director, NPI said, "The summit is dedicated to building inbound Chinese visitor numbers by matching buyers to over 100 travel providers from throughout the UAE and Middle East including hoteliers, attractions and retailers keen to tap into this lucrative Asian market." "The market is wide open with the UAE currently representing less than 10% - or 31,980 travellers - of the delegation's accumulative outbound business. And with more than half of the delegation having less than three years' experience working with UAE suppliers, their appetite for new product is extremely keen." A snap survey of the summit's Chinese delegates has revealed specific MICE opportunities with bookers looking for existing opportunities with clients from the Chinese government, industry association, education, pharmaceuticals and medical, oil and gas, retail, construction, real estate, automotive, as well as insurance, finance and corporate segments.
"What stands out in particular is that they are now focusing on suppliers of MICE, high-end travel and custom-designed products within the UAE market," added Nicholas. "While on the leisure side, the preference is for multi-experience packages combining two destinations or more such as Abu Dhabi and Ireland." Last year's summit proved extremely successful for Abu Dhabi with 76 Chinese travel agents and tour operators, 10 Chinese media and several Chinese government travel dignitaries receiving their first exposure to our destination.
"Summit partners and suppliers went above and beyond to impress the Chinese delegation. We are looking to build on this momentum and to particularly highlight our expanding tourism proposition which has been boosted over the past 12 months with new resort and attraction openings and tour product enhancements," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions '&' Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi, which operates a visitor and destination promotion centre in Beijing.
"What is clear though is that local suppliers will have to begin creating tailor-made product if they are to maximise penetration of this market with delegate members requesting specific high-end product such as Gulf luxury desert driving tours. The local suppliers joining us at the summit will be naturally out to sell product, but also to learn more about what is specifically required by the Chinese buyers and their customers.
"TCA Abu Dhabi now offers all its destination collateral and websites in Mandarin to be a source of information for the Chinese travel and travel trade and would actively encourage suppliers to follow suit." Alexander Glos of i2i says that while unique attractions, world-class accommodation and shopping are vital in attracting Chinese visitors, its travel industry buyers are also looking for a destination which demonstrates flexibility in responding to their needs.
"They are looking for destinations that are Chinese-focused - for example, hotels that provide staff who can speak the Chinese language, as well as restaurants that offer authentic Chinese cuisine for when they have a craving for their native food. They also value the experience of shopping in stores that have Chinese attendants," he said.
Home to almost 20 percent of the global population, China is a rapidly emerging market that has changed the world's tourism landscape. According to the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO), the Chinese outbound travel market is expected to expand to 100 million by 2020. The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts China's outbound travel expenditure to reach over US$137 billion by 2022.
China is Abu Dhabi's 16th largest international source market for hotel guests with 29,890 Chinese staying in the emirate's hotels and hotel apartments last year - a 78% rise on 2011. The Chinese guests accounted for 57,043 guest nights last year - a 53% increase on 2011 - with their average length of stay being two nights.
"The visitor summit will allow us to demonstrate to these key buyers all the latest tourism infrastructure developments within the emirate so they are better equipped to sell the destination and assist in convincing their clients that there's now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi so we can build the important length-of-stay factor," added Al Nuaimi.