China will be represented at the travel trade event for the first time in three years
China has lifted its Covid restrictions, allowing Chinese residents to travel again without having to quarantine upon their return.
As such, Chinese travel professionals are making a welcome return to Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023, which is being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for its 30th edition from 1 to 4 May.
Bookings for overseas travel during Chinese New Year soared by 540% compared with the same period in 2022, according to data from the Chinese travel site Trip.com.
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Arabian Travel Market Exhibition director ME Danielle Curtis commented: “China became the world’s top source market in 2019, with 155 million tourists spending more than US$250 billion overseas. However, its isolation from the global market over the past three years has set the industry back by an estimated US$840 billion, equivalent to 16% of the US$1.7 trillion spent annually on global tourism, according to UNWTO.”
Dubai received almost one million Chinese visitors in 2019, which was an increase of over 15% compared with 2018. And while the 154,000 Chinese visitors Dubai welcomed over the first 11 months of 2022 was down 83% compared to the same period prior to 2020, it was up 115% year-on-year, which bodes well not only for Dubai, but also for the wider Middle East tourism sector.
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Curtis added: “We've noticed a considerable amount of enquiries recently from travel professionals in China. Although we would not expect the same volume of Chinese exhibitors and visitors we received in 2019, we are confident of healthy participation numbers this year.
"I am convinced that the Middle East will experience a surge in Chinese tourism, reminiscent of the rebound we witnessed from Europe and India in late 2021 and early 2022.”
Business travel will be integral to the tourism revival. According to a recent survey by the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and PwC China, over 75% of Chinese businesses polled were looking to enter or expand their presence in the Middle East over the next three to five years, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia top destinations for investors.
For more information, visit www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html