decrease font-size reset font-size increase font-size

York Awarded Welcome China Charter

Putting the spotlight on welcoming the Chinese…

York’s tourism agency Visit York is just one of six tourism organisations in the country who have this month been awarded with the GREAT China Welcome Charter; a tourism industry chartermark acknowledging the city’s commitment to welcoming Chinese visitors.

The GREAT China Welcome is a new initiative from VisitBritain to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly growing Chinese market. Visits to the UK have doubled in the last ten years and tourism bosses hope they will treble again by 2020. The aim of the new welcome charter is to help Chinese visitors easily identify hotels, attractions, shops and tour operators who understand their travel needs and what it is that will make their stay more enjoyable.

Gearing up to ensure York is ready to welcome Chinese visitors, Visit York is now one of 116 UK businesses to be awarded the GREAT China Welcome Charter from VisitBritain. To demonstrate York’s commitment to welcoming Chinese visitors and qualify for this Welcome China Charter Visit York is already:

Committed to offering training for tourism businesses in York (organised by Visit York, the first of several two-day China Welcome Training courses taking place in May is already full.)

Setting up social media channels in China on Weibo and Weixin (Wechat) (half a billion users are signed up to these social media channels)

Producing a new visitor guide in simplied Mandarin – initially 30,000 copies will be distributed in May to key tour operators and on five incoming airlines from China, in UK airport lounges and London, Leeds, Manchester and York hotels.

Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager of Visit York explained the benefits, ‘This is fantastic news for York. This new Charter will open up a world of opportunity in the Chinese market for us. It means that York will be promoted in China by VisitBritain, including translating York information into Chinese, the city will be promoted in Chinese tour operator manuals and Visit York will take part in forthcoming sales missions as well as having access to the all important Union Pay system, the preferred method of payment for Chinese visitors.’

The Churchill Hotel in York is Visit York’s first member businesses to also be awarded the Charter. Marketing to Chinese travellers in Mandarin in conjunction with the Royale Classical Hotels Collection, Chinese visitors to the hotel are already being greeted with a tailored welcome pack including, amongst other items Chinese Green and Jasmine Tea plus imported pots of familiar snack noodles. With China estimated to be York’s 10th largest overseas tourism market – up from 19th place ten years ago - Visit York is planning ahead. To boost York’s marketing in China yet further a new video to entice Chinese visitors to York will be filmed in June with a Mandarin speaking presenter. VisitBritain TV and Visit York will then promote the video via social media channels. Added to this the York video will be screened in all Visa application offices in eleven cities in China.

Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager for Visit York continued, ‘We’re going full steam ahead to target both trade and consumers in the Chinese market. We now need to ensure we work with tourism businesses in the city to welcome Chinese visitors and make sure we’re ready to adapt to their needs.’

John Wallace, General Manager of the Churchill Hotel said, ‘The potential for York is huge and York ticks all the boxes when it comes to what the Chinese are looking for in a holiday in the UK. By making simple changes to what we offer our Chinese visitors we can show them the warmest of York welcomes. We would encourage other tourism businesses to get ready and work with Visit York to benefit from an increase in Chinese visitors in the years to come.’

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain, said, ‘There is strong evidence that businesses who go the extra mile in catering for certain nationalities quickly reap the benefits. Visit York is a great example of a tourism organisation which has been quick to recognise the massive potential of the Chinese market. We hope that many more British tourism and hospitality businesses will follow their example.’

For more information on getting involved and how to market your business with Visit York in China: Contact Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager, Visit York, Tel 01904 554456 Email for more information visit


Notes To The Editor

The GREAT China Welcome Charter is awarded to businesses who provide evidence of:

  • a product or service of genuine interest to Chinese visitors
  • 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.
  • 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.

Recent Visit York marketing activity in China has already included:

  • Attendance at the VisitBritain China Sales Mission in Chengdu, Western China, in November
  • A new 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.
  • Tour itineraries at
  • 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.

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.[1]
  • In total there were 179,000 Chinese visitors to the UK in 2012.
  • In China, one of the most recent trends is to travel in groups (Mum and dad, two sets of grandparents and child) - often with a view to looking at property in the UK and researching a future University for the child.

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 to York from China.

About Visit York

  • Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with VisitEngland.
  • 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 million visitors annually, £606 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,000 jobs

For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York

Direct Line: 01904 554451

Mobile: 07506 048852

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Visit York

Direct Line: 01904 554436


[1] International Passenger Survey