Some 214,600 Chinese tourists and business travelers visited the United Arab Emirate (UAE) capital Abu Dhabi, representing a 15.8 percent increase year on year, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) said on Tuesday.
In total, Abu Dhabi welcomed 2.41 million tourists during the first six months of 2018, 5 percent growth from the previous year.
DCT said Abu Dhabi also aims to prolong the average stay of Chinese visitors in the emirate.
Chinese visitors spent an average of 1.5 days in Abu Dhabi according to the first six months' figure, representing the shortest staying among the top source markets. The figure of German visitors is 4.6 days, the longest among others.
In order to lure more Chinese travelers for longer stays, "a rising number of Abu Dhabi's 162 hotels have upgraded their service by offering Chinese food, hiring Mandarin-speaking staff and installing TV channels from China, which are conditions to get awarded the internationally recognized 'Welcome Chinese' certificate," said Sultan Al Dhaheri, executive director of tourism sector of DCT.
DCT Abu Dhabi also announced a new cooperation with Airbnb, an online accommodation-provider platform, in order to promote Abu Dhabi offerings of the newly developer Emirati Experience.
Foreign visitors can access selected Emirati private houses and villas with certified tourist guides to Emirati culture, customs and the traditional Arabic food.
In addition, the recently opened family leisure park Warner Bros. World is expected to attract more visitors.
Since the end of 2016, Chinese nationals can obtain a visa-on-arrival at UAE airports.
For 2018, the biggest UAE sheikhdom expects a total of 5.5 million visitors from across the world.