£15k fund to boost Chinese visitors to the North of England

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

£15k fund to boost Chinese visitors to the North of England

Related tags: England

Hospitality businesses in the North West are set to benefit from a £15,000 fund to market the region to Chinese tourists.

It comes ahead of the launch of the first direct flights between Manchester and Beijing in June.

The Lake District China Forum – a consortium of local businesses – has teamed up with Marketing Manchester to run a 10 month campaign to promote the City as a ‘gateway’ to North West England.

It plans to engage with Chinese citizens on instant messaging app WeChat – which has 670m daily users – and syndicate editorial articles to 80 Chinese media outlets.

The group has secured £15,000 funding from the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, which is the county’s strategic economic body.

English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues – which runs five hotels in the region – previously said it had seen Chinese visitor numbers triple​ in the last three years.

Graham Haywood, director of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said:  “The start of the first direct flights between Manchester and Beijing means that the Lake District and other parts of Cumbria will become far more accessible to Chinese visitors to the UK.

“If it can exploit upward visitor trends, this will bring significant benefits to tourism attractions, accommodation and hospitality providers, and the wider economy across Cumbria.”

The number of Chinese tourists visiting London alone has risen 112 per cent since 2009, with visitors contributing £500m annually to the economy.

Hospitality businesses are beginning to adapt to the new demand. Travelodge has opened its first hotel in Bicester aimed at Chinese visitors,​ complete with ‘noodle kettles', green tea and Mandarin-speaking staff.

Oxford Economics predicts that spending by Chinese tourists in the UK will grow a further 77 per cent over the next seven years,​ with China set to become the largest outbound tourism economy in the world by 2023.

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