Dubai: Chinese exhibitors and travel professionals are set to return to the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) for the first time in three years.
Exhibitors such as FLIGHTROUTES24 Travel, Shenzhen GoodLuck Trip International and Travel World China have already confirmed their participation, with many more bookings anticipated ahead of the show.
The 30th edition of the exhibition is taking place from May 1 to 4.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, ATM, said: “China became the world’s top source market in 2019, with 155 million tourists spending more than $250 billion overseas. However, its isolation from the global market over the past three years has set the industry back by an estimated $840 billion, equivalent to 16 per cent of the $1.7 trillion spent annually on global tourism, according to UNWTO.”
Dubai, which received almost one million Chinese visitors in 2019, is expected to benefit from the rebound of Chinese visitor numbers. And while the 154,000 Chinese visitors Dubai welcomed over the first 11 months of 2022 was down 83 per cent compared to the same period before 2020, it was up 115 per cent year-on-year, which bodes well for Dubai and the broader Middle East tourism sector.
Popular destinations such as Dubai, Saudi’s AlUla, Egypt and Jordan, which have consistently marketed to Chinese outbound business-to-consumer and business-to-business, should be in a solid position to benefit from the predicted rebound of Chinese visitor numbers.
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 per cent 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 being top destinations for investors.
“We have recently noticed a considerable amount of enquiries 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,” she added.