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

Visit York Tourism Insights Conference – York sets its sights on China

York has its sights firmly set on Chinese visitors planning their travel itineraries for 2015 and beyond: this will be one of the key messages at the Visit York Tourism Insights conference, held at York racecourse today and compered by BBC Radio York’s Adam Tomlinson.

A line-up of expert tourism speakers will be welcomed by Chairman of Visit York, Jane Lady Gibson. Sponsored by Digital York and City Connect, 250 tourism businesses, as well as the Lord Mayor and Civic party, will attend the conference which promises to deliver the very latest news on international tourism trends, emerging markets, the changing demographics of the UK tourism market and how York and Yorkshire businesses can begin to get ‘China Ready.’

‘Tourism Insights 2014’ takes place just as Visit York launches a brand new marketing drive positioning York as a must-see destination for tour operators across China. And special guest and keynote speaker, Professor Dr Wolfgang Arlt, a world expert on inbound tourism from China, will reveal how businesses can begin to adapt and get ready to tap into this fast growing tourism market.

At the event, Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York, will outline the achievements of Visit York this year and reveal new marketing plans for 2015 and beyond.

Kate explained, ‘It’s timely for the theme of our tourism conference to focus on emerging markets and in particular to have an emphasis on China. This market is the fastest growing and its crucial we plan ahead now and do all we can to get ready to welcome Chinese visitors to York and Yorkshire in the future.’

Visit York Marketing Manager Michelle Brown will arrive at the conference, fresh from a tourism trade mission to sell York face to face to over ninety influential Chinese tour operators, including CTS International, Beijing UTour, Zhejiang CYTS International Travel and BCTS Travel Service Shenzhen; all part of VisitBritain’s Destination Britain China event held between 24 and 26 November in Guangzhou, South China.

With China estimated to be York’s 10th largest overseas tourism market – up from 19th place 10 years ago, Visit York has also produced a suite of tailor-made visitor information in Simplified Mandarin. Key activity announced at the conference includes:

• Visit York has gained The GREAT China Welcome Charter; a tourism industry award acknowledging the city’s commitment to welcoming Chinese visitors – the new initiative from VisitBritain to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly growing Chinese market.

• 30,000 York Visitor Guides for Chinese visitors have been produced, copies of which have been distributed via five incoming major airlines, VIP airport lounges at London Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester, and hotels in London, Manchester, Leeds and York.|

• A new ‘Shop & the City’ itinerary has been developed, which presents a five-star, three-day stay in York taking in shopping on The Shambles, top attractions, afternoon tea options and fine dining.

• A brand new promotional video in Chinese went live this week, promoted through the high profile VisitBritainTV platform, and which has already achieved over 250,000 views.

• A dedicated Visit York webpage has gone live on COTRI’s (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute) website This is a dedicated site for destinations across the world which have an interest in promoting themselves to the Chinese visitor market.

Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager, Visit York, said: ‘We see the importance of sowing the seeds for the inbound Chinese market and, now that visa issues are starting to be tackled, we want to ensure York is high on the agenda for tour operators planning their 2015/16 programmes.’

A range of other topics will be covered at Tourism Insights 2014, including the changing demographics of the UK visitor market, as well as the latest news on emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia and India. Closer to home, Tom Pearcy, owner of the award-winning York Maze, will reveal some of the secrets of his business success.

The expert panel of speakers includes: Sharon Orrell, Head of Research and Insight at VisitEngland, David Edwards, Head of Research and Forecasting at VisitBritain, Tom Pearcy, owner of the award-winning York Maze, as well as Roy Grant, Head of ICT, Steve Dann, Digital Strategy and Programme Manager for YorkSuperConnectedCity and Mark Lowe, Strategic Relationship Director, Pinacl Solutions.

Kate continued: ‘We’re working full steam ahead to target both the travel trade and consumers in the Chinese market. And at the same time it’s crucial that we continue to attract and look after our visitors from closer to home; our success will depend on meeting the needs of our customers today as well as planning ahead for the emerging markets of the future.’



Media interviews and photo opportunity:

Conference Programme:
09:30 Conference registration and networking
10:00 Welcome by Adam Tomlinson, BBC Radio York
10:05 Welcome by Jane Lady Gibson, Chairman, Visit York
10:15 Visit York Highlights of the year and opportunities in 2015 – Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York
10:35-13:00 Main conference and presentations by guest speakers
13:00-14:00 Networking and lunch

13:00 – Photo opportunity at main stage – Voltigeur Suite – Chairman of Visit York, Jane Lady Gibson, with Professor Dr Wolfgang Arlt and a Lion from the Six Harmonies Lion Dance Crew.

Interviews are available with all guest speakers, as well as with Marketing Manager Michelle Brown, Visit York, who has recently returned from a trade mission to China.
If you plan to attend our photocall opportunity please contact Kay Hyde Tel: 07506 048852
All media are invited to attend the full conference as our guests but please advise in advance by emailing

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.

Visit York marketing activity in China has already included:

• Attendance at the VisitBritain China Sales Mission in Guangzhou, Southern China.
• 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:

• 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. 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: seven million visitors annually, £606 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,000 jobs

For further information please contact:
Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

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