VisitBritain’s efforts to increase the welcome and services that Chinese visitors to England experience has been recognised with a gold award in the service quality category of the Chinese Tourist Welcome Awards 2016 staged recently in Beijing.
The award is in recognition of the more than 260 tourism industry professionals from 70 organisations from across the North of England, who took part in VisitBritain’s China Welcome Training programme held between October 2015 and March 2016.
The programme, run as part of the UK Government’s £10 million Northern Tourism Growth Fund, managed by VisitEngland working with international delivery partner VisitBritain, aimed to inspire and educate local businesses about the Chinese tourism market to drive more international visitors to the North.
The training, led by Cumbria Tourism with training provider Capela China delivering the course, considered Chinese tourists’ motivations and expectations when they travel, how businesses can adapt their products and marketing to meet these needs, and the importance of providing services in Chinese, amongst other topics. Ninety per cent of those who took part in the course said they were planning to make changes to their business within six months as a result of the training.
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “China is the world’s largest outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for Britain. We want to deliver a world-class experience for Chinese visitors, maximising their spend and stay, to support our ambition of making Britain the most welcoming destination in Europe, so we are honoured to receive this endorsement of our work.”
Recent figures from VisitBritain show that visits from China were up 37% in the first nine months of 2015, smashing previous records. There were 214,000 visits from China from January to September, beating the number of visits for all of 2014, with figures for the last quarter of 2015 still to come. Spend was up 4% over the same period.