Dubai Duty Free and Ctrip ink deal to attract more Chinese tourists

Dubai Duty Free inked a strategic cooperation agreement with Shanghai-based online travel operator Ctrip on Thursday in a bid to attract more Chinese tourists.

Dubai Duty Free and Shanghai-based online travel operator Ctrip inked a strategic cooperation agreement on Thursday in a bid to attract more Chinese tourists with discounts and measures to overcome language barriers.

Dubai Duty Free will offer a 5-percent discount for Ctrip members on transactions over the value of US$138 in all categories except watches, while users purchasing watches can enjoy the same discount on purchases over US$1,000, according to the partnership between the world's largest airport duty free in a single location and the biggest online travel agency in China.

Ctrip will also help promote Dubai Duty Free to its users via multiple channels and provide support in products, services and marketing under the agreement.

"The demand of Chinese travelers is becoming more diversified beyond just sightseeing, covering food, shopping, medical treatments and physical examinations," said Ctrip SVP Christine Zhang. "Shopping is increasingly becoming an important part of tourism, and is an important area of Ctrip’s global strategy."

Dubai Duty Free, present at both Dubai International Airport and the passenger terminal of Al Maktoum International Airport, has over 180 shops spread over 36,000 square meters. It serves 90 million passengers that use Dubai's airports, with sales reaching US$1.93 billion last year. Chinese passengers account for 14 percent of that turnover.

"The relationship between Dubai Duty Free and its partners in China is part of the drive of the government of the United Arab Emirates to increase trade and cooperation between the two countries," Ramesh Cidambi, chief operating officer of Dubai Duty Free, said.

More than US$125 million in sales were made by passengers going to China from Dubai at Dubai Duty Free from January to May this year.

Dubai Duty Free has stepped up efforts to lure more Chinese travelers. Over 800 of its 6,000 employees are from China, and it has accepts Union Pay and Chinese currency as payment. It is scheduled to accept Alipay and WeChat payments by the third quarter of this year.

Watches, cosmetics, jewelry, perfumes and liquor are amongst the main categories of purchases by Chinese passengers.

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