Dubai Tourism forges hi-tech link to China market
Dubai Tourism has forged a strategic alliance with Chinese internet giant Tencent to raise its profile and make it the preferred destination for Chinese travellers.
The agreement will result in ecosystem-wide strategies spanning the Tencent network to expand Dubai Tourism’s marketing reach and penetration within China – one of the fastest-growing source markets for Dubai.
Leveraging the strength of Dubai Tourism’s industry influence and stakeholder network in Dubai, Tencent will promote its offerings including WeChat and WeChat Pay as an option for convenient and secure mobile payment for Chinese tourists at local outlets.
At the same time, Dubai Tourism will encourage Dubai merchants to leverage the Tencent Cloud and media solutions to enhance the overall city-experience for Chinese visitors and drive spending from this significant consumer base.
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) signed the agreement on behalf of Dubai Tourism at the Tencent headquarters in Shenzhen, in the presence of H.E Rahma bin Abdulrahman Al Shamsi, Consul General of the United Arab Emirates in Guangzhou.
The Dubai Tourism – Tencent Memorandum of Understanding opens the far-reaching spectrum of WeChat solutions for Dubai to effectively and efficiently target key Chinese audience segments through Dubai Tourism’s official WeChat account.
With more than 980 million monthly active users on WeChat and Weixin, Dubai Tourism will be able to drive amplified brand awareness of the destination and its superlative offerings, extending the benefits across Dubai’s stakeholder ecosystem.
In addition, Tencent will support with Chinese consumer behavioural insights, to drive more in-depth understanding of the Chinese travellers, consequently enabling Dubai to more effectively market to and communicate with potential new visitors.
In November 2017, Dubai Tourism and WeChat co-developed the CityExperience Mini Programme – offering an interactive map with an audio guide for Chinese tourists. Building on this, the new MOU aims at further elevating the Dubai experience, proving smart travel solutions by leveraging Tencent Cloud for the China market.
By supporting strategic penetration of Tencent’s suite of services and smart travel solutions across Dubai’s Tourism ecosystem, the programme is structured to facilitate the end-to-end ‘China Ready’ proposition for Dubai.
Issam Kazim said: “Tencent is a significant partner for Dubai Tourism, with considerable reach in the Chinese market through its widespread digital network solutions, and we are excited about the possibilities this partnership opens for both parties.
“China is a highly strategic market for us, and Dubai Tourism is continually looking to initiate programmes that will enhance our appeal to potential travellers, and ensure the emirate is ‘China Ready’.
“With its long-standing reputation for innovation, Tencent is the perfect partner to collaborate with on developing and deploying future-forward initiatives to position Dubai as a preferred destination for Chinese tourists and enhance their experience in the city.
“At the outset, we are looking forward to working closely on the advanced AI customer service feature to be developed on CityExperience Mini Programme and delivers immediate impact for our Chinese guests.”
Poshu Yeung, vice president of Tencent International Business Group, said: “Dubai is our first strategic partner in the Middle East and an important flagship city to promote smart tourism.
“Harnessing Tencent’s technologies and platforms, and utilising Dubai Tourism’s local influence and network, this partnership will further build the success of our collaboration with Dubai Tourism to promote this unique city.
“We look forward to enhancing the overseas travel experience in Dubai with local partners and driving the tourism industry along the Belt and Road.”
China is one of Dubai’s fastest-growing source markets with ongoing and robust growth in visitor numbers from the country, thanks in part to the introduction of free visas for Chinese nationals in 2017. This trend has continued into 2018, with 258,000 Chinese tourists visiting the city in the first quarter of the year alone, up a strong 12 per cent on the same period last year.