DUBAI, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese arrivals to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are expected to increase 21 percent by 2021 to 2.5 million visitors annually, a report said.
According to data released by Canadian consultancy Colliers International, the GCC countries, which are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, currently attract 1.9 percent of China's total outbound market, up from 1.3 percent in 2012.
The report was published ahead of the annual fair Arabian Travel Market 2018, the biggest tourism fair in the Middle East and North Africa, slated for April 22-25 in Dubai.
Saudi Arabia is set to see the highest proportionate increase in arrivals from China, up 35 percent on the 2016 figures. The UAE will follow at 20 percent, Oman at 12 percent and Bahrain and Kuwait at 7 percent.
The report says 154 million Chinese tourists prepare to go abroad in 2018 and a predicted 244 million in 2022.
Simon Press, senior exhibition director of Arabian Travel Market, said "the outbound Chinese market represents a vast, untapped pool of affluent and adventurous travelers and the GCC has been a destination of choice for years."
Figures from the Arabian Travel Market 2017 show the number of delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with China had increased 63 percent on the previous year, with the number of delegates arriving from China up 28 percent.
Travel brands across the industry are working to maximize links with China by introducing Chinese language TV and menus, hiring native Mandarin speaking guides and more, said the report.
In 2016, UAE's international carrier Emirates Airline added to its China network two new routes to Yinchuan and Zhengzhou, in addition to regular flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
At the Dubai Airshow held in November 2017, President of Emirates Airline Tim Clark said the carrier is keen on expanding its network in China in 2018.