The 2016 edition of the MeetChina forum organized by npimedia in collaboration with Highway Tourism commenced in Abu Dhabi today. The only B2B event in the UAE focused on the world’s number one outbound market, MeetChina has brought a 75-strong group of Chinese travel buyers to meet with leading tourism suppliers, including top hoteliers, local DMCs, leisure attractions and retail brands from Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.
The event builds on the success of tourist groups arriving from China that were responsible for almost two million guest nights in 2015 and continues to be the UAE’s fastest growing tourism source market.
Visiting participants are members of some of China’s leading outbound tour operators with responsibility for leisure as well as meetings and events. The combined value of their current business placement to the UAE is in excess of US$30 million and each intends to grow this considerably in coming years.
Hosted buyers in 2016 represent a broad spectrum of locations from Mainland China such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Ningxia, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Yinchuan, Zhengzhou aside from Shanghai and Beijing. This reflects the growth of outbound tourism from secondary cities all over the country.
Rob Nicholas, Managing Director, npimedia delivered an opening address and spoke about the marked shift in demand from China terms of visitor make-up and discussion points. “At present, the major portion of current outbound travel from China sits in the semi-FIT category. Families, friends, club members and colleagues often travel together in customized small group formats. However, the number of young, individual travelers is also on the rise and they have a desire is to venture out independently, away from set itineraries.”
“At the MeetChina forum, tourism suppliers from UAE will gauge where the opportunities lie and enter into business negotiations with the attending Chinese delegates during pre-scheduled appointments. All the hard work has been done for our clients by bringing 75 carefully selected travel buyers to the UAE and they are all available at one venue.” said Rob Nicholas, MD of npimedia, which launched the event in 2012.
As destination partners, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority have lent support to the event as they seek further visitation from the Chinese market.
MeetChina 2016 is taking place from September 4 to 5 at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa in Abu Dhabi. Event sponsors – Montblanc, Mall of the Emirates and Ski Dubai have provided bespoke experiences and VIP hospitality to the Chinese delegates while they are in UAE.
The Chinese delegation, which is based at leading Abu Dhabi hotels – Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara and Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri; also had the chance to visit Emirates Palace, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island and The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal as part of their leisure agenda.
In Dubai, stays for the Chinese buyers are supported by Jumeirah Creekside, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach and Steigenberger Hotel Dubai.