Statistics show that in 2014, more than 340 thousand Chinese tourists visited Dubai. Dubai’s tourism department says China has now become the 7th largest tourist source for the city.
But as most Chinese tourists are unable to communicate in English or Arabic, and most don’t really understand the local Islamic customs, they are more likely to take in the luxury lifestyle and landmarks rather than the Middle Eastern culture.
Muhammad Hejaz is an experienced tour guide with more than ten years expertise. He lists several things tourists should be aware of, especially religious customs.
“During Ramadan, sometimes it happens you know when they are eating something in front of our drivers, because on Ramadan you see eating is not allowed for all these people so the Chinese people know they have to respect their religion.”
He points out that, among all the tourist spots, skyscrapers and high-rise buildings are the biggest draw for Chinese tourists. The Burj Al Arab is the so called “World’s only 7 star hotel” and shaped like the sail of a ship. The unique look and luxurious interior design is a must-see for all Chinese tourists.
The deputy of the cooperation and exchange department of the hotel group, Piers Schreiber is trying to introduce more Chinese services to lure in more custumers.
“Well we are very happy with the number of Chinese tourists coming to the Burj Al Arab, it’s the symbol of Dubai. I think what is very important for Chinese travellers is to know that when they come to the Burj Al Arab, there are Chinese staff who are there to welcome them in Chinese, that the menus and signage are also in Chinese and also when they phone the Burj al Arab, they can also speak to our Mandarin speakers so they can get their requests properly understood and properly delivered.”
Other than the 7 star hotel, the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa, the world’s largest shopping mall Dubai Mall, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque are all at the top of Chinese tourists’ ‘must-see’ list.
Tour guide Muhammad Hejaz says that as for construction, these sites are all man-made landscapes. He encourages Chinese tourists to take more safari trips and explore the traditional side of the region.
“I don’t see many Chinese going on desert safaris. I want them to go on Safari and to explore these things like the deserts and the late night belly dancing and these things, they should enjoy that as well, and also they should enjoy going to Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm-al-Qaiwain, and so on because Al Ain is a natural beauty you know.”
China is now the world’s largest outbound market, with Chinese tourists spending some 130 billion U.S. dollars abroad, more than any other source market in the world.