Business | Retail

Dubai hotels, retailers brace for Chinese New Year

Businesses customise programmes to attract increasing number of tourists

  • By Deena Kamel Yousef, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 18:34 February 9, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News
  • Shoppers pose by a Chinese New Year display in Dragon Mart, Dubai. Stores are going all out to woo Chinese tourists.

Dubai: Retailers and hoteliers are all geared up to welcome Chinese New Year in style on Sunday, with offerings ranging from traditional dumplings to dances to woo Chinese tourists and the business community in Dubai.

Business at some stores in Dragon Mart has spiked up in the last two weeks before the festivities marking the Year of the Snake, according to store owners at the Chinese mall.

“Before New Year, shoppers buy red garments and shoes. Business goes up 10 per cent one or two weeks before New Year. Since red denotes luck in the new year for Chinese people, they buy traditional clothes,” said Huang Yongfa, manager of Joanna clothing store at Dragon Mart.

Pan W Yu, a Chinese expatriate in the UAE and an airline ground staff member at Dubai Airport, said she would shop at Dragon Mart or Chinese stores in Deira for ingredients and ready-made meals for a traditional New Year dinner.

“I will celebrate with friends. We will make some home food and watch traditional TV shows. Every area in China has different food for new year, I’m from Suzhou in Shanghai. So, there will be spring rolls, sweet rice, Chinese dates and a dish with different coloured carrots,” she said.

Special menus

Hotels and restaurants are introducing special menus for the 15-day celebration that include a feast of traditional Chinese dishes as Chinese guests have turned into an increasingly popular market segment.

“The Chinese form one of our top markets and the growth in the number of Chinese visitors at Burj Al Arab reached 25 per cent in 2012,” Heinrich Morio, general manager of Burj Al Arab, said in an email to Gulf News.

Chinese visitors are one of the top three fastest-growing segments at Burj Al Arab and the hotel will launch seven-day celebrations to usher in the new year starting Sunday, he said.

The hotel is also hosting an event for Chinese dignitaries and business owners on Sunday to watch traditional lion dances. It is also projecting a red calligraphy serpent on its sail-shaped exterior to welcome the Year of the Snake. Its Chinese restaurant Junsui will offer traditional dishes, including Fa Gao (Chinese-style cupcakes) and Nian Gao (new year cake).

Silk Route, the Chinese restaurant at Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa, has also created a special menu for the new year to attract Chinese tourists in town, said Habib Khan, the hotel’s general manager.

“It’s a fast-growing market and we have witnessed a year-on-year increase. We mostly target group meals so it can increase our food and beverage revenue. We also do direct selling in China to secure room business,” he said.

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