Millennium & Copthorne is participating in today’s Chinese Visitor Summit, aiming to increase its share of the soaring inbound Chinese visitor numbers into the UAE and wider Middle East.
The event, which is being organised for the second year by Dubai-based NPI and i2i Group China in Abu Dhabi today and tomorrow, will bring together 75 leading Chinese travel agents, MICE buyers and tour operators for two days of face-time with a cross section of regional hospitality professionals representing hotels, ground handlers, tour operators, shopping malls and leisure attractions.
“This is an ideal opportunity for us to speak with some of the most influential buyers from the Chinese market. We’re in a fortunate position – Chinese tour operators are well aware of our brand, with 10 hotels in mainland China and a further 13 properties throughout South East Asia.
“Moreover our 17 hotels in the Middle East region are well placed to serve Chinese visitors, situated mainly in urban locations, convenient for shopping malls (branded luxury consumer products are much cheaper in UAE than in China), sightseeing and of course supporting the extensive MICE calendar.
“We often see Chinese leisure travellers dividing their stay between several hotels during a three to seven-night stay, so having a portfolio of brands that cover all segments will help satisfy this demand,” said Naeem Darkazally, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Millennium & Copthorne Middle East & Africa.
In 2013, 97 million Chinese travelled internationally with Dubai reaping the benefits of this with 143,000 Chinese visitors in the first six months of the year. This was a scenario mirrored in Abu Dhabi where Chinese visitor numbers for the first seven months of 2013 were up 36 per cent.
“The MICE market is also very important to us and we have an excellent range of meeting facilities in our properties to accommodate groups. This year we have a landmark MICE property opening in Kuwait, Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre which has +6000sqm of meeting & conference space,” added Darkazally.
Millennium & Copthorne Middle East & Africa, currently has a packed pipeline of new openings during the next 18 months with an overall target of 50 properties to be opened throughout the Middle East and Africa by 2017.
Nearly one in ten international tourists worldwide is now Chinese, with 97.3m outward-bound journeys from the country last year, of which around half were for leisure. According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Chinese tourists spend most in total ($129 billion in 2013, followed by Americans at $86 billion) and per tax-free transaction ($1,130 compared with $494 by Russians). More than 80% say that shopping is vital to their plans, compared with 56% of Middle Eastern tourists and 48% of Russians. They are expected to buy more luxury goods next year while abroad than tourists from all other countries combined.