International tourist arrivals up 4% in the first four months of 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

International tourist arrivals up 4% in the first four months of 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.

UNWTO logoInternational tourism demand continued to be robust between January and April 2015 with tourist arrivals increasing 4% worldwide according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Almost all regions enjoyed strong growth. Prospects for the May-August period remain upbeat, with close to 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad during these four months.

Destinations worldwide received some 332 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2015, 14 million more than the same period last year, corresponding to an increase of 4%.

This result follows an increase of 4.3% in 2014 and consolidates the upwards trend of international tourism in recent years (+4.5% international tourist arrivals a year on average since 2010).

By region, the Americas (+6%) led growth, followed by Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, all recording 4% to 5% more arrivals. By subregion, Oceania and South America boasted the strongest increase (both +8%), followed by the Caribbean and Central and Eastern Europe (both +7%), the latter rebounding from last year’s decline. In Africa, demand weakened in 2014 after years of solid growth, affected mainly by the Ebola outbreak among other challenges. Limited data currently available for January-April 2015 points to a 6% decline, as African destinations struggle to recover from the misperceptions affecting the continent.

“It is encouraging to see the tourism sector consolidating its excellent results despite security concerns and unrest in many parts of our world”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “This underscores that tourism is a surprisingly resilient economic sector which increasingly contributes to development in many countries around the globe. For national governments, it is a reminder that tourism can be part of the solution to foster socio-economic development and job creation”, he added.

Strong results across many destinations with a rebound in Central and Eastern Europe

In the Americas (+6%) all four subregions continued to enjoy significant growth in January-April 2015, led by South America (+8%) and the Caribbean (+7%). Strong outbound demand from the United States fuelled results as 20 million US tourists travelled abroad through April, 7% more than during the same period last year.

Asia and the Pacific (+4%) consolidated its growth of recent years, with Oceania (+8%) and North-East Asia (+5%) in the lead. South-East Asia (+3%) recorded moderate results this four-month period as the rebound in Thailand (+25%) was offset by declines in other destinations.

Europe, the world’s most visited region, enjoyed continued strength with international tourist arrivals growing by 5% through April. Arrivals in Central and Eastern Europe increased by 7%, rebounding on the poor results of 2014 following the conflict in Ukraine and the slowdown of the Russian economy. Southern Mediterranean Europe (+5%) maintained strong growth, though for many destinations these are low season months. Western Europe and Northern Europe both enjoyed a solid 4% increase in arrivals, partly due to good results in traditional winter sports destinations.

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East are estimated to be up by 4% through April, further continuing the region’s recovery which started in 2014 after three consecutive years of declines. Africa’s international tourist numbers, on the other hand, declined by an estimated 6% as a consequence of the decrease in arrivals to North Africa (-7%) as well as to sub-Saharan Africa (-5%). Figures for both Africa and the Middle East should be read with caution, as they are based on limited available data for these regions.

“The Ebola crisis in West Africa and the security concerns are serious challenges for Africa’s tourism and for the international community as a whole. We must work together in managing and overcoming these challenges and in supporting destinations for a prompt recovery. It is important to remember that tourism is the lifeline of many communities around the world and that we face today a global threat that affects all our societies”, said Mr. Rifai.

Optimistic prospects for the coming months

Close to 500 million tourists are estimated to travel abroad between May and August 2015, the Northern Hemisphere holiday peak season, a total that accounts for some 41% of all international tourist arrivals registered in a year.

According to the latest results of the UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index, prospects for this period continue to be bullish and are the highest for this period since the pre-crisis year 2007. The sentiment is positive among all regions and areas of activity.

Business intelligence tool ForwardKeys also shows healthy growth in international air travel reservations for May-August 2015. Overall bookings are up 5% thanks to strong demand for domestic air travel (+7%) and continued growth in international travel (+4%). By region, air reservations increased most in Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and Europe, while reservations to and from Africa and the Middle East are weaker.

According to the forecast issued by UNWTO in January this year, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 3% to 4% for the full year 2015, in line with UNWTO’s long-term forecast of 3.8% a year for the period 2010 to 2020.

Please note that results presented here reflect preliminary data reported to date and are subject to revision.

Relevant links:

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, including excerpt with tables on international tourism arrivals per world region for free download

UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2015 Edition (free download)

Infographic: International Tourism in 2014 (International Tourist Arrivals and International Tourism Receipts) (pdf)

Infographic: Why Tourism Matters (pdf)

Back to basics – ten tips for travel search marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

Back to basics – ten tips for travel search marketing [INFOGRAPHIC].

Hanapin Marketing, a UK-based agency which works with a number of travel and tourism brands, has produced a rather handy, back-to-basics guide to search marketing in the travel industry.

(click image or here for a larger version)

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TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners

pata logoEmerging tourism destinations have an unprecedented opportunity to boost their digital marketing campaigns, thanks to a collaborative venture between the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and TripAdvisor.

The PATA CEO Challenge offers two prizes, each valued at US$500,000, for regional, state and province tourism organisations, and secondary and tertiary cities that are able to demonstrate the uniqueness and authenticity of their heritage, customs, culture and natural beauty to local and international travellers. Awards valued at US$500,000 will be presented to the winners of each category: States, regions and provinces; and second-tier/third-tier cities.

Trip AdvisorThe winning organisations will work with dedicated teams from TripAdvisor to create unforgettable digital marketing campaigns that showcase their destinations to global stakeholders.“The PATA CEO Challenge is gathering momentum and we are receiving enquiries and entries from a very broad spectrum of new and emerging destinations. This is a remarkable opportunity to work with TripAdvisor’s digital marketing experts,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “We have received many enquiries from organisations in mainland China and to assist them we are accepting entries in Simplified Chinese.”“Travellers around the world are always on the lookout for places to discover and explore.

By participating in the PATA CEO Challenge, emerging destinations will have the opportunity to showcase their unique destination to TripAdvisor’s global travel community,” said Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing, APAC at TripAdvisor. “We look forward to receiving even more creative entries as the deadline draw near.” Deadline for submissions is Thursday, October 1, 2015. The awards will be presented at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London on November 2, when the guest of honour will be UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai

via TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners.

The secrets of digital travel ad targeting » ClickZ UK

The secrets of digital travel ad targeting » ClickZ UK.

Ahead of StrategyEye’s Future of Travel event on Wednesday 2nd September, Stephen Tayor, vice president and managing director of travel ad platform Sojern, talks through the do’s and don’ts of targeting consumers in digital travel.

The Future of Travel, at The Escalator in East London, will feature keynote speeches from Expedia, Hostelworld and Sojern along with five-minute pitches from start-ups including Hostmaker, Tripster and Triptease. Click here for more information24.

What is Sojurn’s primary focus?

We place ourselves firmly in the middle of marketing, advertising and travel technology. We’re a business that specialises 100% in the travel sector. The digital environment for travel is huge. Making sense of it all and helping the big travel brands communicate with the right person at the right time, in the right way, is what we aim to do.

We collect and aggregate huge volumes of anonymous travel intent data by working with companies like airlines and meta search companies.

What is changing in the way consumers are doing their own research?

The power that has gone to consumers is incredible. There is such a proliferation of information available, which is the reason why we exist. Online travel agencies are appearing such as HotelTonight, TripAdviser and Airbnb. Where I book, how I book, when I book – if you’re a hotel, how on earth do they reach the right client? That’s the problem we try and help solve for the big travel brands. The proliferation just means it’s a very exciting time, and on the brand side of it, it all comes down to use of data. With our data you can see when people are booking their flight, this is when they are travelling, and using that data a brand can work out when the right time is to talk to them. The data is invaluable.

What’s the key to targeting the right customer?

It comes down to the quality of the data you use and how you deploy it. Generic retargeting to everybody, which goes on a lot, is the worst rule of data marketing. Trying to sell something to someone that they just chose not to buy is stupid, Bombarding people with ads is irritating. The key is better and better data. If someone hasn’t bought something there is a reason, so you need to use the next level of data.

For example, give them options – we know for example that a certain person was searching for Chicago as well as New York, so offer them that as a flight option. Retargeting can be incredibly powerful, but the vast majority is wasted. It’s not a trivial problem to solve.

What are the key trends you see emerging in digital travel in the different markets?

We are in the US and Europe and we are expanding because the majority of travel companies exist all over the world. We are being pulled by our European clients into the Middle East, so Dubai is incredibly important for us. Then there was a pull into Asia Pacific through Singapore – Singapore itself is a natural travel hub and gateway to the rest of Asia. Singapore and Dubai are investing huge amounts of their GDP into travel products.

There are big differences between markets. The US is a phenomenal business market for us, but the vast majority is domestic travel. London, however, is an international market. The data targeting therefore needs to be a lot more granular. Germany is a market where travel agents are still prominent and going strong. Asia Pacific, where we are still learning our way, it is a market that is changing the whole time, and everybody is adjusting there, there is a fast growing middle class, and many affluent customers to target. It used to be about Japan, but now China is driving growth. Each market has very distinct travel patterns and you need to suss them out.

Find out more and learn how to attend The Future of Travel here.

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central.

From last-minute summer road trips to a look at which destinations are trending right now, the week in travel stats provided a good glimpse into what’s hot in travel for the rest of the year.

U.S., Spain Top Most-Searched Destinations in Q2

This week travel marketing platform Sojern released a look at the most-searched destinations of the second quarter of 2015, an indicator of where travelers are looking to book at the moment.

The United States and Spain were the most-searched destinations, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Portugal, Turkey, Greece and Russia. The latter re-entered the list after a quarter’s hiatus, replacing Thailand.

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Beyond the top 10, here are the destinations that captured the most traveler interest by region since summer 2014:

In North America, Haiti moved up 34 ranks since summer 2014, after experiencing a dramatic decline in tourism in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, followed by Iceland, up 11 spots.

For travelers from Western Europe, Cuba pushed up 12 places to position 41, thanks to a lot of media attention and the detente with the U.S. Czech Republic, Iceland and Romania each moved seven places up in the ranking.

In Latin America, Aruba’s appeal increased over last year, pushing it up 11 spots, followed, by Hungary, up 10 spots. The latter is one of the more affordable European destinations, as a non-Eurozone country.

In Southeast Asia, Bangladesh moved up eight spots and Qatar seven since summer 2014.

For travelers from the Middle East, Sudan gained the most popularity (up 24 spots), followed closely by Bosnia and Herzegovina (21 spots), a country which the World Tourism Organization estimates will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world by 2020.

Read more

Top Restaurants for Last-Minute Summer Road Trips

Even as we head into August, clients could still be looking to take one last summer road trip. OpenTable has released its 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide highlighting top eateries for your clients to visit.

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Compiled by OpenTable insiders across the nation, the guide highlights culinary destinations along some of the country’s most popular road trip routes.

The OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide includes more than 100 restaurants, from Grace in Portland, Maine, to Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm in Portland, Oregon. OpenTable’s regional teams around the United States curated the guide.

Source: OpenTable

1 in 4 Business Travelers Can’t Use Ride Share Services

This week also saw a flurry of research into the world of business travel from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2015.

As part of a panel discussion at the event, the GBTA Foundation released a new report on the future of ground transportation in the sharing economy. Key takeaway: With one in four business travelers barred from using new ride share services, rental cars and taxis remain the most commonly used methods of ground transportation among business travelers.

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“Our research shows one in four (24 percent) travel buyers say their company does not allow their business travelers to use ride-sharing companies, by far the highest percentage for any form of ground transportation,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “In addition, a large number of companies still have not adopted policies around ride-sharing companies, revealing a need for education about the benefits and the risks. GBTA hopes this study is the start to closing that knowledge gap and we welcome an open and constructive dialogue on this topic.”

Read more

Business Travel Spending to Hit Record High of $1.25 Trillion in 2015

Another report from the GBTA Convention brought some good news for business travel. Driven by a surge in China, business travel spending is expected to hit a record high of $1.25 trillion in 2015.

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Despite recent economic turbulence, China business travel will increase by 61 percent over the next five years, from $261 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019. That increase is greater than the increases in business travel growth in the next 8 largest countries combined, including the U.S., Germany, India, U.K., Indonesia, France, Turkey and Japan.

“Despite recent economic speedbumps, China will pull away as the global leader in business travel over the next five years,” said McCormick. “On the horizon, we’ve identified five nations that are also seeing extraordinary growth and could very well turn into the business travel markets of the future. Another market to watch is India, which is statistically where China was 15 years ago.”

Illusions to complete its first European acquisition

Illusions in European acquisition first

Dubai-headquartered company to buy Polish travel technology firm anixe

Illusions is poised to make its first ever acquisition, with advanced negotiations under way to purchase Polish travel technology firm anixe for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was announced on 23rd April at the FVW Travel Technology Day in Cologne, Germany, will give the Dubai head-quartered travel technology specialist access to exclusive technology, global hotel content and a brand new client base across Europe.

It’s an agreement that will see anixe, which specialises in distributing global hotel product to the European and UK travel trade, become integrated into the Illusions business.

Illusions Founder and CEO Faisal Memon said the acquisition allowed the technology firm to “cherry pick” the facets of the anixe business that would both complement and enhance its core product and its rapidly-expanding global travel marketplace, the i-World Travel eXchange (iWTX).

“It was anixe’s technology, customers, infrastructure, distribution strength and crucially, its team of technology experts, headed up by a very smart CEO, that clinched the deal and I believe we can grow this into a much bigger business,” he said.

“The product and distribution capabilities of anixe will grow iWTX’s hotel inventory to exponential proportions, with our combined offering amounting to a staggering half a million unique hotels.”

Memon has made no secret of his quest to be market leader in Germany, Europe’s biggest travel market in a short time frame, paving the way for the domination of the entire continent.

Illusions already counts Der Touristik, part of the REWE Group, as one its top clients and the anixe partnership brings another German heavyweight into its fold – the country’s fourth largest German tour operator and travel agency, FTI Touristik.

Under deal terms anixe’s current base in Wroclaw, known as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Poland, will become Illusions’ first office in Eastern Europe and its second on the continent. Its first European office opened its doors in Lisbon, Portugal just last week.

“Setting up a satellite office in Poland demonstrates our commitment to the European market, in particular Germany, and brings us much closer to our key clients, allowing us to meet their needs more effectively,” said Memon

anixe is a technology firm that like Illusions, has spent 18 years creating customised solutions specifically for the travel industry.

The company’s Founder and CEO Piotr Zolnierek said he been looking for an opportunity to grow his business for some time but had rejected acquisition requests from several interested parties until Memon came along.

“We share the same attitude to management and business and there are huge synergies between our two businesses,” he said.

“At anixe we have some unique inventions that Illusions can market and sell and with the expertise of our two companies combined, we will create a technology firm like no other.”

anixe will give Illusions access to technology that maps the same hotel product across different sources to a room type level, refining searches to show the best deals by room category, which no other system can offer. These searches are also customisable by market.

What’s more, anixe also boasts the technology to generate the different cache file formats unique to the German, French and Dutch markets, plus its processing times are lightning fast.

Memon said anixe’s innovative hotel mapping, real-time caching and booking engine technology was one of the firm’s top assets.

“With this acquisition comes a number of enhancements to our platform, with functionality and out-of-the-box solutions for the global travel industry that will set us apart in this competitive market place,” he said.

via Tour Operator & DMC software – Illusions Online Travel Technology – News – Illusions in European acquisition first.

Are luxury specialists missing out on the Mena family market? | News | Travel Trade Gazette

Wealthy families in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region could be a lucrative market for the travel trade to tap into.

10 YouGov with Brand Line (Vertical)Research carried out by polling firm YouGov for Arabian Travel Market found that more than one-third of the region’s residents stayed in five-star hotels when going on holiday.

But currently more than half of these residents book all elements of luxury family trips themselves, although 72% said they would be willing to book an all-inclusive package if they were available.

Bahrain had the highest number of residents, 34%, who usually stay in luxury hotels.

This compares with an overall average of 27% for those living across the Gulf states, while only 17% of North Africa residents stayed at the most upmarket properties.

The most popular destinations for the Mena region’s residents are the United Arab Emirates (14%), Italy (10%) and Turkey (5%).

Nadege Noblet, exhibition manager for ATM, said: “This trend for luxury family travel offers opportunities for tour operators to create tailor-made packages that take into account not only family needs, but also the cultural considerations unique to the Mena region, and this opens up tremendous marketing opportunities.”

Luxury family travel will be discussed at two ILTM@ATM in two seminars: Biting into Gourmet Travel and Luxury Family Travel.

via Are luxury specialists missing out on the Mena family market? | News | Travel Trade Gazette.

MMGY Global grows travel business landing three new international accounts

MMGY Global grows travel business landing three new international accounts: by Theodore Koumelis 

The Leading Hotels of the World, Occidental Hotels & Resorts and NH Hotel Group has appointed MMGY as its marketing and public relations agency.

mmgy logoLeading integrated travel marketing firm, MMGY Global, has added three new global hospitality clients to its esteemed portfolio of tourism accounts, including Leading Hotels of the World, Occidental Hotels & Resorts and NH Hotel Group.

The Leading Hotels of the World has appointed MMGY as its integrated marketing and public relations agency for the prestigious brand. MMGY PR has been selected to collaborate on strategic planning and media relations efforts as the brand’s agency of record. Comprised of more than 400 hotels in 80 countries, the collection represents some of the world’s most exceptional hotels.

MMGY has also been selected as the U.S. public relations agency of record for NH Hotel Group, Europe’s third-ranked business hotel chain. MMGY will help raise awareness of the brand in the U.S. market with specific focus on its NH Collection portfolio. The hotel group boasts nearly 400 hotels and 60,000 rooms in 29 markets across Europe, the Americas and Africa, including top city destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Munich, New York, Rome and Vienna.

Spain-based Occidental Hotels & Resorts has chosen MMGY for brand strategy for the company’s portfolio of resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. MMGY will consult on brand strategy, structure and positioning for all of the company’s brands including Royal Hideaway, Occidental Grand, and Allegro Resorts. Occidental Hotels & Resorts manages 14 properties in six countries: Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Mexico. In addition to welcoming over 400,000 guests annually, the company’s timeshare concept, Occidental Vacation Club, includes more than 23,000 loyal travelers who have expanded their all-inclusive experiences through vacation ownership.

“It is exciting to be working with these great international brands,” said Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global. “As we have grown our capabilities outside of the United States, it has permitted us to develop new client relationships that would have not otherwise been possible.”

via MMGY Global grows travel business landing three new international accounts.

China DIY travel site Directons smashes crowdinvesting goal

Premium DIY travel site for Chinese going overseas smashes equity crowdfunding goal,  Paul Bischoff

Up until a few years ago, most travellers from China were relegated to group tours – packed onto planes and buses with at least a dozen other tourists, led around on a strict schedule by a guide with a flag and loudspeaker.

But China’s younger generations, with their growing incomes and fewer travel restrictions, are quickly shifting to DIY travel, which offers more flexibility and freedom than group tours. As a result, a huge wave of startups have cropped up to serve their needs. Now the highly-fragmented market is nearing its saturation point.

“It is true that China’s DIY market is already very hot and is trending towards over-saturation,” says Robin Shao, CEO and founder of Directions Travel. “But we believe that this is more of a ‘quantity’ over-saturation, rather than a ‘quality’ saturation. There are a lot of companies out there doing this, but they are not necessarily meeting the needs of consumers.”

Directions has two core competitive strengths, Shao says. The first is that the start-up reaches out to people who have unique experiences and hobbyists in certain fields to introduce unique attractions, restaurants, and accommodation. “We source our trip ideas from individuals who have on the ground experience,” he explains. “On our site, users can learn about these people and their background to pick out the one that best matches their interests.”

Secondly, Directions uses these human resources to cater to customers who want unique experiences. “Though the independent travel market is hot, there are very few companies that are willing to put in the effort to create products that meet specific needs,” Shao says.

But what constitutes a “unique” experience is rather subjective, and Directions doesn’t seem to tackle the most empirical deciding factor for most travellers: cost. Whether the promise of quality can outweigh customers’ budget concerns in this highly competitive market will be critical to the startup’s success.

The company focuses on mid- to high-end customers travelling overseas. Some of Directions’ destinations include the US, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Latin America. Competing travel sites include Lvmama, LY.com, ByeCity, Ctrip, Qunar, Aoliday, Woqu, Tuniu, and many, many more.

An invested crowd

Directions was chosen as one of the 11 inaugural startups to raise funding through ecommerce site JD’s new equity crowdfunding platform. In equity crowdfunding, backers actually take a slice of equity in the company they support in contrast to the rewards-based Kickstarter model. The crowdinvesting site just launched earlier this week, and Directions has already doubled its RMB 2.5 million (US$403,000) goal, surpassing it within the first 24 hours.

“We believed that it would be a fast, efficient way to raise money,” Shao says. “For an early startup, the first fund is the most important one, but you cannot spend too much time raising it or you might run out of money before you make it.”

Venture capital is no longer the exclusive right of big organizations, Shao says. The equity crowdfunding model also helps attract early supporters. ” If they are willing to invest some funds into us, then they will certainly be willing to help us promote and improve our products.”

On top of that, it also just announced an RMB 1.5 million (US$242,000) seed investment from Gobi VC. Gobi’s Shanghai-based venture partner Michael Zhu says the firm is enthusiastic about the equity crowdfunding model. “As an early stage VC, Gobi believes that the industry should embrace this type of innovative crowdfunding model. It empowers society, it helps startups grow and improves transparency within the VC industry.”

Gobi also invested in another startup that successfully raised funds on JD, spicy seafood delivery company Jacky’s Shrimp. Zhu says the exposure a startup gets through this sort of platform is a huge bonus.

“Usually, a seed stage investment may experience difficulty in getting the word out, especially with how active China’s early stage investment scene is these days. It really builds momentum,” he says. “We are also able to raise more money for the company than we would normally be able to at this stage of growth.”

Zhu says the the results exceeded his expectations as both companies surpassed their investment goals by over 150 percent in under 24 hours, each with a couple months remaining.

Directions will put the fresh funds toward new products, optimizing existing products, and conducting on-the-ground inspections of its trip packages. It will also spend some cash on improving its IT system and on marketing.

Editing by Malavika Velayanikal

via China DIY travel site Directons smashes crowdinvesting goal.

Why the Chinese are choosing Dubai over London, Paris – Emirates 24|7

Why the Chinese are choosing Dubai over London, Paris.  Tourist arrivals to Dubai set to double to 540,000 By Waheed Abbas

An average stay of Chinese tourists in Dubai will be approximately 3.2 nights during the 2013-23 period (File)

Dubai will be a hot destination for Chinese tourists in the coming decade, preferring the emirate over London, Paris and Sydney, according to a new study by a global hotel chain.

Favourable economic and demographic trends shaping the Chinese travel market are set to fuel huge increases in the number of Chinese travellers visiting the UAE over the next decade, said ‘The Future of Chinese Travel’ report published by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in partnership with Oxford Economics.

The emirate will remain the most popular choice for Chinese travellers in the Middle East and Africa region (Mena) as tourist arrivals are set to almost double (up by 97 per cent) to more than 540,000 travellers by 2023 as compared to 276,000 in 2013, it said.

The travel, retail and entertainment centres of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have led the region, attracting an increasing number of Chinese tourists on leisure trips and cruises.

“Over the next decade, growth in arrivals to and nights spent in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is expected to top that of other major city destinations throughout the world, such as London and Paris in Europe and Sydney in the Asia Pacific region,” the report noted.

Total spending by Chinese tourists is estimated to jump by 60 per cent in 10 years, from $488 million (Dh1.8 billion) in 2013 to $781 million (Dh2.86 billion) in 2023. An average stay will be approximately 3.2 nights during the 2013-23 period.

“Dubai is among the top destinations in [the number of nights spent per visit], despite the average number of Chinese arrivals to Middle Eastern cities falling behind that of destinations in the other regions,” said the report.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) earlier this month said Dubai’s hotel establishments received 11.63 million guests in 2014, registering a 5.6 per cent increase over guest arrivals in 2013.

According to DTCM, China moved from tenth position to seventh, experiencing 24.9 per cent growth in the last 12 months with 344,329 hotel guests compared to 275,675 in 2013.

Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Office, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said the UAE is a key growth market in the Middle East.

“As the volume of Chinese travellers grow in key cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the country, we must also ensure we are ready to cater to their and we are pleased to share that today nearly 40 per cent of our hotels in the UAE are now China Ready accredited. In the years ahead we will work towards growing this number alongside the growth that we can expect from Chinese guests.”

Globally, 90 million Chinese households will be travelling overseas by 2023.

Abu Dhabi is expected to receive more than 177,000 Chinese travellers by 2023, a huge increase of more than 300 per cent from just over 44,000 in 2013.

The report also reveals the opportunities this forecast growth will present, as Chinese traveller preferences evolve towards long-haul, leisure-driven travel. The study reports that increases in leisure and retail spend will contribute to significant increases in the value of Chinese travellers to local economies.

via Why the Chinese are choosing Dubai over London, Paris – Emirates 24|7.