• Gulf countries to target Indian and Chinese tourists

    Ramesh Tiwari
    April 30, 2017
    Gulf countries to target Indian and Chinese tourists

    TravelBizNews  Desk —

    Dubai: Major tourism destinations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will increase efforts to target Indian and Chinese inbound tourists, as regional and international guests from Europe continue to feel the acute financial pressures of the challenging global economy.

    The findings were published by Colliers International at Arabian Travel Market, at Dubai World Trade Centre, during a seminar session entitled ‘Capitalising on Experiential Travel: China & India Mega Source Markets’.

    Already key markets for the region, China counts an average of 122 million outbound tourists annually and India contributes 22 million, with overseas spending calculated to be $252 billion and $15.4 billion respectively in 2015.

    China’s outbound tourism market is currently growing, on average, 6.7% year-on-year, while India’s market posts average annual growth of 7%.

    The trend is largely proliferated by increasing levels of personal wealth and a demand for experiential travel.

    China is home to 1.4 million high net worth individuals (HNWI), with 146 million working class nationals, representing 19% of the working population, and 90 million urban blue collar workers. Counted together, they represent almost 29% of the population and are the most likely to travel.

    India, meanwhile, is home to 433,000 HNWI, with 59 million considered urban middle and educated urban and 97 million counted as urban blue collar workers. Together, they represent almost 31% of the population that is eligible and likely to travel.

    Filippo Sona, Director, Head of Hotels MENA region, Colliers International, said: “The growing middle class and cheaper flight options are transforming the outbound travel landscape for these two countries, with a combined 146 million passport holders.”

    Making a total of 12 recommendations concerning visas, accommodation, cultural sensitivities and marketing, the report advises GCC-wide multi-entry visas with similar principles to the Schengen Area; hotel welcome kits and signage in guests’ native languages; promotion of cultural celebrations and festivals from each country; and targeted loyalty programmes.

    According to the report, hotels should aim for a volume-driven strategy when tapping the combined Indian and Chinese market, creating culturally tailored experiences in order to boost their reputation in the guest’s home market. For example, an understanding of Chinese social media is critical, as native sites such as Baidu and Weibo are favoured over TripAdvisor and Booking.com.

    Colliers International also assessed the compatibility of key GCC destinations with four traveller types: Corporate, MICE attendees, leisure first-timers and experienced leisure travellers, for both Indian and Chinese visitors.

    The UAE scored the highest level of compatibility for both nationalities thanks to its blend of modernity and culture, strong trade ties with both countries and growing airlift between major cities.

    In both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, India was the top performing source market in 2016. In Dubai, 1.8 million nationals arrived last year compared to 1.6 million in 2015 and in Abu Dhabi, which welcomed a record-breaking 4.4 million visitors in total in 2016, 323,388 were Indian. According to the figures from Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, this marked an increase of 15% on 2015.

    Chinese visitor numbers to Dubai were also strong, with 540,000 Chinese arrivals in 2016, up from 450,000 in 2015, cementing the country’s place as a top 10 source market for the emirate.

    In Abu Dhabi, plans to attract 600,000 Chinese tourists a year by 2021 would represent a 265% increase on the figures recorded for the first nine months of 2016, according to data from the emirate’s Tourism and Culture Authority.

    Oman, which demonstrated the highest compatibility with corporate arrivals, welcomed 299,568 Indian tourists to the Sultanate in 2016. Numbers increased 17% in 2015 compared to 2014 and, over the last five years, Oman has seen an increase of 60% in the number of arrivals from India.

    Capitalizing on its breath-taking scenery, Oman is also working to promote itself as a wedding destination to tourists from West Bengal and Kolkata.

    In Qatar, Indian visitors enjoyed a higher compatibility across all four visitor types, with the country now the second largest source market after Saudi Arabia. Numbers are expected to grow in line with the launch of several high-profile sport and leisure attractions over the coming years.

    For Chinese visitors, initiatives such as the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture helped boost the profile of Arab states in domestic Chinese markets, with arrivals to Doha from Asia and Oceania totaling 342,976 in the first half of last year.

    Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of  Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

    The 24th edition of the show welcomed over 2,600 confirmed exhibitors – with 100 exhibiting for the first time – representing more than 150 countries, across 65 national pavilions.

    April 2017

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      News Brief

      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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