From beaches to desert trekking or taking in the birdseye view from the top of the world's tallest building, Dubai and other countries in the region tell visitors there is a lot to do.
The marketing message seems to be working in Asia, because the number of Chinese tourists taking a holiday in the Middle East has soared over the last year.
Tourism to the Middle East booming
Research shows that Chinese travelers have a unique set of wants and needs when it comes to how they book their travel and the methods they use to pay for them.
Worldpay, a leader in the electronic payment services industry, recently surveyed 12,000 people in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, and the US, who’ve booked a flight or a vacation package in the last year, to better understand which devices travelers use and how they prefer to pay when abroad. The study found that Chinese travelers stand out in a few ways.
Chinese travelers venturing abroad spent $261 billion on foreign travel in 2016, a 12% increase over 2015, which represents a new record for global outbound tourist spending.
Chinese tourists spent more than any other country’s outbound travelers last year and are already the largest outbound travel market with some 135 million Chinese traveling outside China last year, a 6% increase year-on-year, according to data released this week by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Skift reported.
Alipay and UniCredit have launched a new partnership that will see Chinese visitors in Italy able to purchase goods and service using their Alipay apps.
The firms utilised infrastructure from SIA to enable Alipay payments in a pool of 120,000 merchants across Italy. Among the names to offer Alipay integration are food and drink vendor Eataly and fashion brand Antonia. Pisa Orologerie, Morellato, Fedon and Mitsukoshi will also be on board in the coming weeks.
Cobh Tourism is the first destination in the Republic of Ireland to be awarded with a Chinese Tourist Welcome Certification, recognised by tour operators in China.
Cobh already attracts Chinese visitors but they wanted to bring their offering to the next level in order to entice more visitors, prolong their stay, and ensure they leave with a positive experience of the town’s many tourism attractions and experiences.
Receiving tourism certificate
So, who are China’s independent travelers? According to the data presented by Skyscanner and UnionPay, the lion’s share of all Chinese independent travelers are part of the millennial generation—68 percent of independent travelers are between 15 and 34 years old.
The report also reaffirms that a majority of China’s independent travelers are educated—94 percent of independent travelers hold degrees equivalent to or higher than college school.
Gender ratio (top left), age distribution (top right), and level of education (bottom) among China’s independent travelers
Europe has seen a major recovery of tourism coming from China, with statistics showing that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the continent has more than doubled in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year.
Eastern Europe and Northern Europe saw the fastest growth, following last year's meagre growth of just 6.3 percent.
Italy, Germany and Britain were among the favourite European destinations for Chinese tourists in the first quarter of 2017
China's leading car-hailing service provider Didi Chuxing (Uber competitor) has worked with Finnish Lapland tourism bureau to give Chinese tourists an authentic Christmas experience during the holiday season. Without having to travel to Rovaniemi, users of Didi Chuxing have been offered the surreal experience of touring around the Santa Claus village and make wishes to Saint Nick through the virtual reality (VR) function on the Didi app.
Using the VR option on the company's app, Didi Chuxing have been spreading some Christmas spirit in China.
The announcement was first made by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. The EU-China Tourism Year represents an excellent opportunity for both regions to boost the travel sector.
More Chinese coming to Europe
Alipay’s new partnerships will enable Chinese travelers to use the Alipay app in a similar fashion to how it works domestically—as a shopping portal that makes it an interesting advertising tool for merchants that accept Alipay. Through the Alipay app, Chinese tourists will be able to find nearby retailers that accept Alipay using their smartphones’ geolocation feature.
China-U.S. Tourism Year 2016 came to the end on Sunday, with officials from both countries pledging to expand tourism cooperation and enhance friendship. Chinese President Xi Jinping said Sunday that the China-U.S. Tourism Year has helped expand people-to-people exchanges and given fresh impetus to bilateral relations.
“As we close the Tourism Year and look to the future, I want to assure all of you that we will continue to promote more traveling and tourism between our two nations”
A cheaper yuan tends to make overseas trips more expensive for Chinese travellers. But judging by the numbers — the depreciation is not holding back China’s outbound tourists. The impact from the weak yuan on Chinese tourists going abroad is being offset by the holiday joy.
A tourism website founder said: “The yuan’s drop has had a limited impact. Chinese tourists want something more"