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York Bolsters Far East Tourism - With New Chinese Visitor Guide

Make It York, the city’s new destination management organisation, has released a second edition of York’s Visitor Guide in Chinese as part of a wider marketing campaign underway in China. 35,000 copies of the brand new guide, written in Simplified Mandarin, will now be distributed via five inbound airlines from China, VIP airport arrival lounges at London and Stansted as well as visa application offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

Tourism experts are aiming to entice Chinese visitors here with a mix of high end shopping at venues such as Pandora, Fenwick, Mulberry Hall and York Designer Outlet, afternoon tea at venues such as the Grand Hotel and Spa and the National Railway Museum’s Countess of York and world-class visitor attractions, such as York Minster, York’s Chocolate Story, York Brewery (Chinese visitor feedback is that they are getting a taste for our beer) and Jorvik.

York’s new guide also contains a special feature on the wedding of Taiwanese pop star and actor, Jay Chou, which took place at Selby Abbey, with a reception at Castle Howard, in January this year. Ever since this news went viral, interest in York and Yorkshire has increased in China, with Chinese visitors posting photos of themselves on social media in front of Castle Howard.

Speaking about the York Chinese Visitor Guide, Michelle Brown, Leisure Marketing Manager at Make It York, said: ‘This will be our second edition in Simplified Mandarin following the success of the first one which was released in summer last year. We’ve seen even more interest from local businesses and we have increased our travel trade distribution channels, ensuring the guide will reach at least one hundred Chinese tour operators.’

The guide will be available in York’s Visitor Information Centre for Chinese travelers arriving into York, it will be distributed at major hotels in London, Manchester, Leeds and York, at airport gate services in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh airports, through customers of ‘GO Travel’ as well as via train and coach services including Virgin Trains, Gatwick Express, Stansted Express and Heathrow Express.

This new initiative is just one element of Make It York’s ongoing marketing campaign, under its tourism brand Visit York, to make York a must-see destination for the rapidly growing Chinese market.
The campaign, which got underway in November last year, is run as part of Visit Britain’s GREAT China Welcome programme and has already delivered, among other things, a promotional video in Chinese which has to date achieved over 400,000 views on Michelle continued, ‘We’re delighted with the interest shown in York so far from the China. And since achieving China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) Destination Label status in 2014 and we have run several ‘China Welcome’ training courses aimed at helping tourism businesses ensure they are China Friendly.’

All of this news comes as a new Charter flight has begun for the summer into Birmingham Airport from Beijing, bringing an estimated 4,000 Chinese holidaymakers to the UK and York will be now be included on this travel itinerary. Planning is also underway for Make It York to attend Visit Britain’s China sales mission, which will take place in November this year; the event sees over 90 Chinese tour operators gather together and will offer a platform for one-to-one meetings.

Kate McMullen, Head of Consumer Products and Marketing, Make It York, said, ‘China is estimated to be York’s 10th largest overseas tourism market and our relationship with the Far East continues to grow and develop. We are keen to build on this momentum and pitch York as the ultimate holiday and business destination for the consumer and trade Chinese market.’


Notes to 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 Guangzhou, 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 is 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
• Make It 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.

• 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.

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as an exciting place to live, study, visit and do business. The remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

York Means Business is a part of Make It York
Under the York Means Business brand, Make It York’s aim is to promote York as a great place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation across a range of business sectors, such as financial & professional services, rail, and high value manufacturing; and to stimulate greater inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York

VisitYork4meetings is a part of Make It York and is the business tourism brand
Under the brand VisitYork4meetings Make It York’s aim is to market York as a quality destination for conferences, meetings and events

Science City York is a part of Make It York
Under the Science City York brand, Make It York’s aim is to promote York and its surroundings as a great place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation in creative, science and technology businesses.

Key business & investment facts:
The York economy is currently worth £4.75billion (GVA), supporting around 8,105 businesses and 114,000 jobs

Key tourism facts:
1.7. million visitors annually, £573 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs

Key business tourism facts:
An estimated 16,900 business events are attended by a million business event visitors annually
£148.9m spent at venues and in the local destination