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Middle East Region First to Recover Chinese Tourism Numbers

According to research by Oxford Economics, outbound travel from China is estimated to almost double this year, compared with 2023 and will only be 22 percent below its peak pre-pandemic numbers of 155 million tourists in 2019, who spent over USD250 billion overseas.

Full recovery is expected to materialise in 2025, with the Middle East being the first region globally to recover its Chinese inbound market.

 Underscoring that prediction, Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024 which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from May 06-09, is set to welcome twice the number of Chinese exhibitors and travel professionals, compared with its 2019 show.

 China lifted its covid-related travel restrictions on January 08, 2023, allowing Chinese tourists to travel abroad, without having to quarantine upon their return.  Bookings for overseas travel during Chinese New Year, soared by 540 percent compared with the same period in 2022, according to data from the Chinese travel site

 Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, commented, “Last year, some analysts were predicting that the Chinese outbound market would recover to around six million per month by the summer of 2023, driven in part by the pent-up demand especially from young, affluent Chinese. However, that rebound wasn’t as great as many tourism professionals had hoped for and now analysts are confident that this year, we could see Chinese visitor numbers double year-on-year, with major destinations in the Middle East recovering quicker than any other internationally, especially for luxury travel.

 Chinese participation at ATM 2024 is expected to more than double compared with ATM 2019, with new exhibitors that include private sector companies such as Heytrip International, Jiangsu Intelligence Equipment Co, Flightroutes24 Travel Company Ltd, Feeyo Technology and anticipated destination representation from Macao Government Tourism Office, China Cultural Centre in the UAE and the Hongkong Tourism Board.