China arrivals to GCC to see 54 per cent growth by 2023

ATM 2020

The GCC is expected to witness a noteworthy 54 per cent increase in Chinese visitors, from 1.4 million in 2018 to 2.2 million in 2023, according to data published ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020.

As destinations from across the globe prepare to showcase their latest offering at ATM 2020, to be held at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 19-22, 2020, Colliers International predicts China will maintain its position as a top source market across the GCC, particularly in the UAE, where Chinese visitors are currently the second and fourth highest ranked source markets for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.

Adding to this, the data predicts the UAE will continue to be the preferred GCC destination for Chinese tourists, welcoming a projected 1.9 million visitors by 2023. Saudi Arabia will follow with one million visitors, while Oman will welcome 76,900, Bahrain 26,300 and Kuwait 2,800.


“China’s links with the GCC have strengthened in recent years due to the introduction of additional and direct airline routes; relaxed visa regulations; the strong growth of the Chinese economy and Chinese tourists’ increasing disposable income,” exhibition director ME, ATM, Danielle Curtis stated. “The recent influx in Chinese visitors to the GCC shows no sign of abating as we look ahead to 2023 and beyond – owing largely to the many business and investment opportunities that the region presents, as well as a new generation of leisure attractions and retail destinations.”

Chinese tourists represent the world’s highest spenders while travelling abroad, with total outbound travel and tourism expenditure reaching $277 billion in 2018, according to the Colliers’ data.

“Focusing on the GCC, Chinese visitors to the region are expected to generate an estimated $3.48 billion in travel and tourism revenue by 2023, an increase of 71 per cent when compared with figures from 2018.

“After a successful debut at ATM last year, the Arab China Tourism Forum will return for 2020 as part of the show’s new forum & networking sessions. The forum will explore the untapped opportunities that China’s expanding tourism market presents, while outlining what destinations can do to attract a larger share of this key market and providing an informal networking event for buyers from China and exhibitors,” Curtis concluded.