Chinese visitors to the UAE will now be able to receive visas on arrival, it was announced on Sunday.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting, the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum revealed on Twitter.
Affirming our important relationship with China, we decided at today's Cabinet meeting to grant UAE visas on arrival to Chinese visitors.
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) September 4, 2016
“Our relations with China are strategic and a priority,” he added.
The UAE is looking to boost inbound tourism as it continues to diversify its economy away from oil.
While the current geopolitical climate and currency issues have put off traditional travellers from Europe and Russia, the country is keenly tapping into markets such as China.
In 2014, Dubai and Abu Dhabi hosted a major incentives trip organised by Nu Skin China, which saw around 14,500 of its employees flying into the UAE for a 10-day holiday.
Last year, Dubai also hosted the 16th edition of the International Dragon Awards, welcoming about 5,700 attendees.
Chinese visitor numbers to Dubai alone increased by 29 per cent to reach 450,000 in 2015, according to official figures.
The emirate, which received 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015 – a 7.5 per cent year-on-year increase – is looking to welcome 20 million tourists per year by 2020.
“Building on our core multi-source visitation strategy, we have been able to prudently balance our risk exposure to specific geographies, shift our investment to frontier growth markets for Dubai, and be much more targeted on penetrating niche segments within our stronghold markets,” Dubai Tourism director general Helal Saeed Almarri said earlier this year.
“Additionally, we have been very focused on ensuring a committed presence in markets with high levels of disposable income, such as China, and those with future potential like Nigeria or Indonesia that have a growing tourism base to tap into.”
Currently, citizens of 47 countries that have a treaty with the UAE, including the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, are granted a visa-on-arrival.