Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is embarking on two separate trips to five cities across China in March and May to capitalize on the growing popularity of the emirate as a tourist destination from Asia.
Inbound visitor arrivals from China have seen dramatic rises over the past few years, with the number of hotel guest rising 31 per cent in 2016 compared to the previous year. China is now the emirate’s third largest overseas source market for hotel guests, behind India and the UK, contributing 337,353 guest nights last year.
The Authority is heading to China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market (COTTM) for a three day event being held from 29-31 March at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre in Beijing, China. Now in its 13th year, COTTM is regarded as one of the industry’s most important platforms in Asia and remains the only business-to-business event in China focusing purely on the burgeoning outbound market.
In May, the Authority will be leading a large delegation of hotels, attractions and tour operators to China with stops in Chengdu, Wuhan, Guanzhou and Nanjing as the emirate strives to reach its ambitious target of 600,000 Chinese visitors a year by 2021.
The increased initiative to attract visitors from China has gained momentum following the United Arab Emirates’ government recent law allowing Chinese visitors a visa on arrival to Abu Dhabi International Airport, as well the efforts to develop a wide range of products and packages that meet expectations for Chinese travelers.
Numerous tourist attractions and hotels in Abu Dhabi have received the China Tourism Academy’s Welcome Chinese Certification, awarded to distinguished hospitality establishments and destinations that offer high quality services to Chinese visitors, including Mandarin-speaking staff members.
Most destinations and attractions in the emirate, including Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, Yas Waterworld, Al Ain’s Wadi Adventure, Zayed Sports City and Souk Qaryat Al Beri, as well as all of Yas Island’s entertainment destinations and hotels accept China Union Pay bank cards, making it easier for Chinese visitors to conduct purchases and settle bills.
Joining the TCA Abu Dhabi delegation for the visit to COTTN will be Yas Marina Circuit, Etihad Airways, Nirvana Travel & Tourism, Omeir Holidays and Yas Island.
From the 1st July, Etihad Airways – the national airline of the UAE – will begin operating its B787 Dreamliner on their daily Beijing to Abu Dhabi route. The airline currently operates 28 flights per week to Abu Dhabi from four major cities in Greater China – Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong -providing excellent air connectivity to the emirate.
Omeir Travel Agency, the flagship company of Omeir Bin Youssef Group which was established in Abu Dhabi in 1956, said they are targeting at least 500 visitors to the emirate, concentrating on high-end visitors and golfing packages. The company will also highlight the opening of an office in Chengdu and aim to form more partnerships with Chinese outbound agents during the event.
As part of the Yas Island delegation, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will be highlighting its latest attraction – Turbo Track – a new rollercoaster ride due to open at the end of March. The three-stage experience, gives guests an authentic feel of what it’s like to become a Ferrari test driver, is the latest thrilling addition to the Park.
Turbo Track will become the third ride to be launched at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in a 12-month period, following the opening of Flying Aces and Benno’s Great Race in 2016, joining a host of other experiences which hold significant appeal to Chinese visitors.