Multilingual Dubai passport officials to welcome rising number of Chinese tourists

More than 2.8 million Chinese tourist have visited Dubai since last year

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 23, 2019.  Chinese tourists enjoy the sights at the Heritage Village, Corniche, in spite of the humid weather.
Victor Besa/The National
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Passport control officials in Dubai are improving their Chinese language skills to greet rising numbers of tourists from China.

Immigration officials said passport control officers in Dubai speak Chinese, French, Portuguese as part of plans to ease the arrival of tourists into the UAE.

Dubai is one of the favoured destinations for Chinese tourists with more than 2.8 million tourists in 2018 and so far this year, as per figures released by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

Major General Mohammed Al Marri, director general of the residency affairs department, said the UAE was a preferred destination for Chinese tourists since it offered a unique combination of the authentic and modern across several attractions.

A large number of passport control officers are multilingual as part of an overall attempt to assist tourists, address passenger questions, improve their experience and simplify procedures, he said.

The aim was to create a strong first impression since passport control officers in Dubai were the first cultural interface for tourists.

"We are working to facilitate the procedures of travelers coming from the People's Republic of China in order to support UAE’s ambitions to strengthen relations with China in all fields,” Mr Al Marri said.

“This contributes to the growth of the number of Chinese tourists to the UAE and increases economic investment rates between the two countries.”

China is the UAE’s second-biggest trading partner.

In a sign of strengthening ties between China and the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, met President Xi Jinping during a three-day official visit to Beijing last week.

Sheikh Mohamed said the two leaders were framing an ambitious road map for a century of prosperity.

The number of Chinese tourists to the UAE has been steadily rising. Visitors from India, Saudi Arabia and China account for the biggest chunk of tourists.

Chinese tourists to the country crossed the 1 million mark for the first time in 2017 with transit passengers through the UAE reaching 3.5 million, according to Chinese tourism authority figures.

The Chinese Tourism Academy listed shopping malls, luxury hotels, Formula One and the Louvre in Abu Dhabi among the attractions.