Britain launches campaign to attract Chinese

Updated: 2016-09-19 16:55


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UK tourism authorities have launched a China­wide campaign using social media and the internet aimed atattracting visitors to Britain during the Golden Week public holiday in October that marks China's National Day.

The latest campaign in China, entitled #OMGB - Britain, Home of Amazing Moments, features a wide range of activities and places considered attractive to Chinese visitors. OMGB stands for Oh My Great Britain.

Last year was a bumper year for Chinese visitors to Britain, with numbers rising by 47 percent on 2014.

"Although the statistics for May­June aren't yet in,anecdotal reports show the trend is rising,"according to Jo Les­lie,China­ UK business development manager at Visit Britain,the UK's main tourism organization.

"Anecdotal feedback from the travel trade is that this summer has been very busy, with most tour operators reporting modest growth on last year."

But Brian Bickell,chairman of the UK­China Visa Alliance, a tourist industry pressure group,believes more can be done to attract Chinese visitors,particularly through changes to the visa system.

"Some 120 million Chinese traveled abroad last year.Frustratingly,the UK has not yet reaped the full benefit of Chinese outbound travel,"he said."Britain has long lagged behind our main European rivals in the number of Chinese visitors."

The campaign in China is not solely aimed at traditional tourist attractions,such as London's Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and others.

A video produced by Visit­Britain features climbing in the picturesque but rugged Lake District,watching a rugby union match in Cardiff and taking in the sights and experiences of Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford­upon­Avon.

Key to the campaign has been signing up various attractions and local organizations in the UK - more than 400 have agreed to take part so far this year.They will compete to win the Great China Welcome of the Year Award.

Joining the Great China Welcome Charter involves proving that the product or service offered is already popular with Chinese visitors,has Mandarin or Cantonese speaking staff members,signs and information printed in Chinese, staff trained in Chinese etiquette,and links to a peer organization in China.

In 2015,269,631 Chinese visitors came to the UK, spending an average of 2,174 pounds each.Overall that year,Chinese visitors spent 586.22 million pounds,an increase of 17.84 percent on 2014,according to UK government statistics.

Tourism officials say they expect numbers to rise because of a fall in the value of sterling since Britain voted to leave the European Union and an increase in the number of direct flights between China and the UK.

Visit Britain chief executive Sally Balcombe said Britain has become one of the top 10 destinations for Chinese travelers.

"We are making it easier to get here,with increased route development and airline seat capacity,"she said.

In addition,Britain has introduced a new two­year multiple entry visa for Chinese visitors.