Dubai-based developer Meraas has launched ‘Hala China’, a brand-new initiative, in collaboration with Dubai Holding, the global investment holding company, and DXB Entertainments, a Dubai-based leisure and entertainment company.
Hala China will aim to complement Dubai’s rich calendar of events by creating an annual schedule of exciting events hosted at the destinations of these three companies, with an aim to showcase Dubai and the UAE to Chinese tourists. The initiative will see the creation of new tourism packages that cater to Chinese visitors in seven categories – stay, shop, eat, play, explore, wellness and concierge.
The initiative will focus on exploring opportunities that encourage and facilitate economic development through both tourism, trade and investment. ‘Hala China’ will see several key government ministries and companies in Dubai and China team up to organise events and incentives, which will play a role in further strengthening bilateral relations.
The year-long pipeline of activities includes a mix of events and programmes spanning food festivals and fashion shows, sporting events, music festivals and Chinese cultural pageants. The various sectors that are expected to witness a positive impact from this initiative include luxury fashion, retail, hospitality, dining, education, sports, photography and weddings.
“In supporting the development of tourism and trade relations between Dubai and China, we continue to align our commercial objectives with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai reflected through Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020,” says Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman at Meraas.
“Leveraging the phenomenal success of Dubai’s first-ever Chinese New Year celebrations at City Walk, where Meraas welcomed 22,000 Chinese visitors across its destinations, the ‘Hala China’ initiative will enable Meraas to build on the progress already made towards this end. In doing so, we have a unique opportunity to share the story of our city with an increasingly mobile Chinese audience, while extending an invitation to come and explore the possibilities we are creating for a whole new generation of entrepreneurs, business travellers, holidaymakers and communities,” he adds.
Meraas is a long-time supporter of Dubai’s strategic tourism roadmap, Tourism Vision 2020, and its key objective of attracting 20 million visitors to the emirate by 2020 – the same year that Dubai will host Expo2020 Dubai. Meanwhile, Chinese outbound tourism expenditure reached $261 billion in 2016, roughly 21% of the world market, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.
And, with China having prioritised the redevelopment of trade links that follow ancient Silk Road routes to the Middle East – through its New Silk Road initiative – there are plenty of synergies to be explored.
‘Hala China’ will begin by focusing on some of key drivers for Chinese visitors to Dubai, such as culture and heritage, entertainment and leisure and luxury retail. Through ‘Hala China’, Meraas will seek to capture the imagination of Chinese visitors to City Walk, The Beach, Boxpark, Last Exit, The Outlet Village, Al Seef, La Mer and The Yard, as well as upcoming destinations, Dubai Arena and Dubai Harbour.