Qatar is a small emirate of the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. It is located east of Saudi Arabia and west of the United Arab Emirates. After being controlled by the British, Qatar became independent in 1971. Well known for its natural gas resources, it is less so for its tourist attractions. The fourth largest producer of natural gas in the world yet has many assets to make their emirate a trendy holiday destination. Qatar has also found its target: China!
The emirate has seen the potential and huge market to conquer in China, especially in the tourism industry. Thanks to the broad economic development of China in recent years, the Chinese have been able to see their purchasing power increase considerably and can now aspire to new experiences. Moreover, the Chinese Y generation is highly educated, more than the generation of its parents. They can, therefore, enjoy a better social position, a better salary and a better lifestyle. On average, we can see that the Chinese get richer and richer, but also since a younger and younger age.
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+68% Chinese Tourists in Qatar
This Special travel population is more and more inclined to spend their money on unique experiences.
Chinese want to acquire incredible memories and adventures of a lifetime. More and more Chinese are travelling abroad every year, and Qatar is becoming a particularly popular destination in the country. Last year, the number of Chinese tourists to Qatar was 20,000, which represents a 68% increase compared to the previous year! This is a huge growth that says a lot about the new cravings of Chinese tourists.
Last September, Qatar was considered by China as an “approved destination”. This was an important step for the emirate in its conquest of the Middle Kingdom because this status is very important for the Chinese. It is a guarantee for them to travel to a safe country where tourist services are reliable. This allows it to receive more Chinese tourists, but also to promote its touristic attractions in China.
Qatar still has many qualities that makes it Chinese tourists’ dream, especially for the rather affluent part of the population. Because Qatar is a rich country, the luxury industry (which the rich Chinese love) is very present and services are of high quality. In other words, it’s a little paradise for millionaires and Chinese gilded youth. They love to shop, and the major shopping centers of the emirate gathering all the most luxurious brands can only please them. But the emirate has more than that to offer to the tourists.
The country is a harmonious contrast between contemporary architecture and preserved landscapes. Endowed with a heavy Arab cultural heritage, it is also an opportunity for Chinese tourists to discover a culture very different from theirs. In addition, the tourism trend in China in recent years is indeed that of a trip more adventurous, more experiential and unique. Qatar can offer all that. Here are the main attractions they can find:
– The Museum of Islamic Art
This masterpiece of architecture located in Doha (the capital city), allows Chinese tourists to discover 14 centuries of Islamic art.
– The Souq Waqif
To discover the culture of a country, what’s better than to discover its markets? Souq Waqif is the most famous traditional market in the capital. It transports tourists to the authentic Qatari atmosphere.
– Doha Bay
A walk of 7km shapes the bay of the capital. It is a nice place to walk and enjoy the view: the sea on one side, skyscrapers on the other. There are many cafes, restaurants, etc., everything that tourists would look for.
– The Inland Sea
The only place in the world where the sea is surrounded by sand dunes is located in Qatar. This is exactly the kind of unique and unforgettable experiences that Chinese tourists are looking for.
– Fort Al Zubarah
In this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chinese tourists can visit the ruins of an ancient village and a very well preserved castle.
Part of Qatari tourism is also focused on falconry. Chinese tourists enjoy this kind of show.
There are of course many other activities to do in Qatar.
Qatar Tourism Authority has opened various offices in China, located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. These three offices are intended to promote their country as a great touristic destination, and this has proven to be quite effective.
To do this, these different offices have used different techniques. They printed and distributed leaflets, but overall, they went to promote the touristic attraction of their country where the Chinese are the most: on social networks! Their digital marketing campaign focused on WeChat and Weibo. It was a real success. In addition, Chinese media, KOLs (ie influencers) as well as travel agencies were invited to visit Qatar. This gave the emirate a lot of visibility and allowed agencies to better inform potential customers.
Qatar has also taken some steps to encourage and facilitate the arrival of Chinese tourists: no visa is required, several hotels accept China UnionPay card payments, Chinese TV channels are offered in the rooms, hot water for Chinese tea… All these little attentions dedicated to them are and will continue to make Qatar’s success among Chinese tourists. Their number is expected to grow in the years to come.
How Qatar Businesses Can Attract Chinese independant travellers
Most of Chinese tourists are using Chinese travel agencies, and most of Tourism Business is not into the hand of Qatar Businesses.
- What Qatar SME should do to attract Chinese tourists?
1/ Have a Chinese Website
With Chinese attractive content and hosted in China ( or Hong Kong)
2/ Work with Chinese Media
3/ Work on your SEO on Baidu to get high quality visitors
For example on Baidu, Chinese May search Travel to Qatar
4/ Have a presence in Chinese Social Media
- little RedBook
5/ Be active on Chinese Independant Travel Forum (Like Tripadvisor)
Like this Mandy, for example, look at this photo report.
If you also want to attract the Chinese thanks to a suitable digital marketing campaign, we can help you. Gentlemen Marketing Agency is based in Shanghai for several years. We can put our expertise of the Chinese market at your service. Do not hesitate to contact us.