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York’s Great Call To China

With China estimated to be York’s 10th largest overseas tourism market – up from 19th place ten years ago - Visit York has embarked upon a new drive to boost bookings from Chinese tour operators by producing a dedicated sightseeing and shopping guide specifically for this burgeoning eastern audience.

Following attendance at the VisitBritain China Sales Mission in Chengdu, Western China, in November, Visit York has produced a ‘Shop & the City’ itinerary in simplified Mandarin which presents a five star three day stay in York, taking in shopping on the Shambles, top attractions, afternoon tea options and fine dining. The itinerary will be distributed by VisitBritain China to its travel trade and tour operator contacts and via its Chinese social media channels, Weibo and Weixin.

Plans are also afoot to produce a new York visitor guide, in simplified Mandarin, which will be distributed via five incoming major airlines, VIP airport lounges at London Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester, through tour operators specializing in the Chinese market, as well as in hotels in London, Manchester, Leeds and York.

Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager at Visit York said: ‘Of the one million overseas visitors we welcome each year, China is now our 10th largest market, having moved up nine places in the last 10 years. We are keen to make sure York is high on the agenda for tour operators planning their UK programmes.

Research tells us York’s visitor offer is a perfect match for the Chinese visitor and ticks all the boxes when it comes to what the Chinese are looking for in a holiday in the UK. York is well placed to benefit from an increase in Chinese visitors in the years to come.’

According to VisitBritain direct route access to the UK from China is improving and several UK airports and carriers are working to build more routes between the UK and China. UK tourism is also raising its game, responding to the different expectations of Chinese consumers.

Visit York is also working with partners to improve information available to visitors from China in Chinese. Chinese visitors to the UK travel either in groups of 25-35 on a 7-12 day package tour, in smaller groups with bespoke itineraries or independently – independent travel is one of the fastest growing sectors, attracting younger audiences, affluent and educated with a keen interest in luxury travel and shopping.

Key gateway cities from China include Beijing in the North, Shanghai in the East, Guangzhou in the South and Chengdu in the West. These cities all have direct flights to London and make up around 75% of all UK visa applications.

To find out more about Visit York, go to: 


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07961 828092

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

Notes To The Editor

Tour itineraries can be found here

Chinese Tourism Facts – the national picture

Outbound travel from China has grown steadily over the past five years and is forecast to continue to do so for the remainder of this decade. China is now the third most lucrative outbound travel market in the world, spending US72.6 billion dollars as year on travel – a growth of over 400% over the past decade.

During the same period, the number of Chinese visitors to the UK has almost tripled. Growth in tourism from China, however, is only in its early stages of development. However the UK has seen 20% year on year growth over the past few years and China has been one of the fastest growing source markets for the UK tourism industry.

In total there were 179,000 Chinese visitors to the UK in 2012.

York Visitor Survey:

York has 7 million visitors annually. 15% of visitors are from overseas - approximately 1 million visitors are therefore from overseas. The top five overseas markets for York are US, Australia, Germany, Netherlands and France.

China is now estimated to be York’s 10th largest overseas market and for the first time is featuring in the top ten overseas markets coming to York, since 2011. We estimate China has moved up 9 places in the rankings over the last ten years, however, further research is needed to estimate actual visitor numbers from China.

Visit York Facts and Stats

• Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with Visit England and Welcome to Yorkshire.
• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.
• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry.

Key facts:

7.1 million visitors
£443 million total visitor spend
23, 000 jobs