Chinese love to drive in the UAE and car rental companies love it
A large China outbound car rental and travel service platform, has been in the front row to observe the Chinese tourists’ growing demand for car rental services in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This year, the platform has witnessed its first semester’s car rental in the UAE increase 7 times compared to 2016. This growth rate largely exceeds those of the United States, Canada and Australia, which are some of the most popular destinations among Zuzuche’s users. This drastic demand increase is mainly due to a recent agreement ratified on the 14th March 2016 by both China and the UAE governments, which recognizes the validity of driving licenses issued by both countries in other’s territory. This agreement allows Chinese citizens holding a UAE short-term visit visa to drive in the country while in possession of Chinese driving licenses only.
To play it safe, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing recommends Chinese tourists planning to drive in the UAE to still apply for an International Certificate Translation of Driver’s License (ICTDL) as a supplementary document. With it and an original driver license, Chinese tourists can be free to rent and drive a car in the UAE. Besides, permanent residents of either of these two countries can obtain a driving permit from the other country without any additional training or tests.
Mr. Zheng Chengjun, Zuzuche’s Vice President, highlighted that “This policy change can be a key factor encouraging Chinese people to choose the UAE as a road-trip destination. That is the reason why cooperating with tourism bureaus worldwide and promoting their policy reforms are crucial for us.”
Over the past years, the growth of Chinese outbound tourism has been coupled with a shift from organized group trips to free independent travels, leading to more demand for car rental services globally. Nevertheless, Chinese driving licenses are yet to be accepted on a global scale, and regulations tend to take a significant time to be changed. Therefore, this bilateral agreement between China and the UAE can be seen as a milestone for the recognition of the Chinese driving license abroad, and also enables the UAE to open its doors to the ever-growing number of Chinese outbound car renters.