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Tourists flock to Dubai as visa rules are eased

By Li Jing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-02-21 14:46

The number of Chinese visitors to Dubai hit a record high in 2016 after the United Arab Emirates government began granting visas on arrival to Chinese citizens last November.

Figures recently released by the official Dubai Tourism body show the emirate attracted 540,000 Chinese visitors in 2016, a 20 percent increase year on year.

Though the Gulf states are still the major tourism sources for the UAE, China is one of the fastest growing markets.

In 2015, there were 450,000 Chinese visitors, up 29 percent year on year.

The relaxed visa rules and expanding flight networks between China and Dubai have fueled continuous growth.

Last May, the UAE's main airline, Emirates, launched direct flights from Dubai to Yinchuan and Zhengzhou in western and central China as its fourth and fifth destinations in the country.

According to Dubai Tourism, Dubai welcomed 14.9 million overnight visitors in 2016. By 2020, the emirate, known for its openness to foreigners and its dense network of luxury hotels and shopping malls, expects up to 25 million visitors, most of them visiting the six-month World Expo 2020.

Contact the writer at lijing2009@chinadaily.com.cn



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