Tourism analysts said that in the next 6 to 12 months, the United Arab Emirates could welcome a significant return of Chinese tourists. But the expected increase in visitor numbers, which reached nearly a million in Dubai in 2019, will be on hold until there is further relaxation of China’s zero-Covid policy restrictions.
The reopening of China, one of the most important source markets in the region, would bring a tourist boom to the Emirates and the Middle East in general, hoteliers, real estate companies and government officials said.
Further relaxation of China’s Covid restrictions would lead to an immediate increase in visitors to the UAE. Associate Vice President of the IRAIC Economics Department told the Emirates Herald, “We anticipate that the rebound from one of our main international source markets, China, will be swift and robust once travel restrictions are further eased.”
So far travel is prohibited except for the most essential diplomats and businessmen. Beijing’s decision last month to reduce the ultra-strict isolation period from 21 days to 10 days for arrivals from abroad was closely watched.
In the years before the pandemic, Chinese tourists visited the Emirates in droves. In June, Etihad Airways resumed flights to Beijing and Emirates airline will increase its service from Dubai to Guangzhou to twice a week from August 3, the latest indications that the travel corridor between the two countries is reopening.
The introduction of visas on arrival for the Chinese in 2016 caused the numbers to double in 4 years. Dubai welcomed almost 17 million visitors in 2019, with Chinese tourists accounting for almost 990,000 of that number, an increase of nearly 15% from the previous year.
However, all that has changed with the Covid-19 pandemic, and although the UAE is performing better than most countries in terms of tourism, there is a noticeable absence of Chinese.
In the first 5 months of 2019, according to a report published by the Emirates Herald, the Chinese tourism market was the fourth most popular among UAE visitors. The report revealed that “At the end of May this year, there were virtually no visitors from China, which is a considerable proportion.” Posted by Iraic.info, a news and information agency.