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Crisis in Dubai spurs tourism interests

At a time when Dubai is still embroiled in a debt crisis, Beijing travelers are ready to check in at the most luxury hotel in Middle East, the Emirates Palace Hotel. Dubai has witnessed 50 percent more Chinese tourists in 2009.

Travel agencies in Beijing are promoting various Dubai trips for the coming Spring Festival holiday, including staying in the eight-star hotel Emirate Palace Hotel.

"During the five-day, three-night luxury tour, travelers can experience the Emirates Palace Hotel for one night," said Huo Jing, from the Top View Holiday and Tourism, a business partner of Dubai Tourism Bureau. "This is the first time that we included such a luxury hotel in our tour programs. There have been many inquiries recently."

The tours include trips to local jewelry markets and Dubai museum. The packages cost no more than 20,000 yuan, Huo said.

"January and February are the sales season in Dubai, and many famous luxury goods are sold with huge discounts. Under the pressure of debt crisis, they have already started the sales," she said yesterday.

Because of the crisis, many top hotels in Dubai lowered their prices in order to attract more customers, the Beijing Evening News reported yesterday.

The cost for Dubai tours is about 40 percent less than in 2008. The China International Travel Service Co Ltd is promoting a five-day Dubai tour for around 6,000 yuan, compared with more than 9,000 yuan last year.

The Dubai tours are also available in other major travel agencies including China Comfort Travel and ctrip.com, the largest online travel agency in China.

"About 150,000 Chinese tourists have visited Dubai," said Gao Zichun, from the Dubai Tourism Bureau's Beijing office. She said this is a 50 percent rise from 2008.

She also said Dubai signed the tourist destinations agreement with Chinese authority on Sept 15, 2009. They have promoted many tour programs since then.

"The debt crisis has made Dubai more famous around the world and has generated a lot of tourism interest," Gao said yesterday. "There are direct flights from Beijing to Dubai every day. It is very convenient to travel to Dubai now."

The world's highest building Buri Dubai which has been under construction for more than 5 years will be open on Jan 4.

"Tourists can see beautiful views in Dubai on New Year's Day from the top of the new building," Gao said.