Moderating a seminar on The Rise of the Dragon, focusing on the Chinese outbound market, Lucy Chuang, MD of Global Sino presented its remarkable market potential to regional hospitality professionals at Arabian Travel Market 2012.
Citing figures for the UAE, visitor numbers had grown 50 per cent annually since the country was given approved status in 2009 by Chinese authorities – reaching 300,000 in 2010 with a spend of U$334 million (Mastercard survey figures).
Chuang stated a typical Chinese leisure preference as a three-night package with a different hotel for each night – either 4/5/6 (one night in a four-star hotel, followed by a five-star and then six-star (Atlantis The Palm) or a 5/6/7 (finishing off in Burj Al Arab) – and she urged the region to promote this tiered concept to the market, particularly during the off-peak summer season.
A desert safari and shopping were priorities with designer goods high on the shopping list of the brand conscious Chinese travellers, while twin-bedded rooms were the number one request and an essential in that room was a kettle to facilitate the preparation of hot instant noodles or rice.
Underlining the importance of the market, vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free, Sean Staunton said of the annual turnover of US$1.46 billion, some 18 per cent was attributed to Chinese travellers, although they made up less than four per cent of the total numbers. Forty per cent of watch sales, 32 per cent of cosmetics and 20 per cent of sunglasses were made to that market.