Building on the emergence of the UAE as a top destination for Chinese visitors, this year’s Chinese Visitor Summit (CVS) welcomed 75 travel buyers and a host of media representatives from China to meet 68 key suppliers from across the UAE and Indian Ocean destinations.
Held at Rosewood Abu Dhabi on August 25 and 26, it was the third edition of the annual event, which is organised by NPI Media and i2i Group China. The summit has gone from strength to strength since its first edition.
Indeed, China is now widely recognised as the source market with the biggest potential. Statistics from China Tourism Academy showed that outbound travel trips increased 18 percent in 2013 to just under 100 million – a figure the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) had earlier suggested would not be reached until 2020. On the business travel side, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has projected that, by 2015, China will surpass the US as the leading global source market for business tourism with spending on the sector increasing by as much as 35 percent by the end of that year. Understandably, the mood at the CVS 2014 was an extremely upbeat.
“At the launch of the summit three years ago, China had just entered our top 20 markets for hotel guests. Today it is our eighth most productive overseas market,” said Mubarak Al Shamsi, Director, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau (ADCB) at the event’s opening.
“We‘re delighted with this progress but face a challenge. Our Chinese guests don’t stay with us long enough – just 1.78 nights on average. We want more Chinese guests and we want them to stay longer.”
According to data released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), around 59,518 Chinese visitors checked into Abu Dhabi’s hotels and resorts during the first six months of 2014, up 189 percent on the same period in 2013. Total guest nights hit 105,915 guest nights, up 171 percent year on year.
“CVS is the leading platform for Chinese buyers to meet with suppliers here in the UAE,” said NPI Media’s Managing Director Rob Nicholas. “We have 75 buyers who have come to the UAE to experience the destination for themselves and to meet with 68 top suppliers, not only from across the UAE, but also from other destinations such as the Maldives and Seychelles, which are benefitting from the status of the UAE as a stopover destination to get in on the act and increase visitor numbers from China.”