Visit Britain just recently launched its latest initiative to more than triple the number of arrivals from Chinese travellers, from 200,000 in 2013 to 650,000 in 2020. The initiative will address one of the biggest concerns of Chinese tourists in Europe: Businesses not being ready to cater to the specific needs of Asian visitors (VisitBritain).
CHALLENGES FOR CHINESE TOURISM
As we have reported frequently over the past months, China is becoming an increasingly important source market for European travel destinations, as the travel propensity in China continues to grow exponentially. Sandie Dawe, CEO of VisitBritain said “In the last twelve months China has become the largest tourism source market in the world, worth $102 billion. We want to make sure that Britain competes effectively for this market, helping the industry to develop products and services that appeal to Chinese visitors and making sure that the message of the GREAT British welcome is widely promoted.”
However, receiving Chinese visitors comes with a unique set of challenges. Different cultural behaviour, different wants and needs as well as language barriers are the most frequently mentioned concerns by both businesses and travellers.
GREAT CHINA WELCOME CHARTER MARK
To increase the experience of Chinese visitors to Britain, VisitBritain has launched the ‘Great China Welcome Charter Mark’. This label, which can be included by participating businesses on their website, marketing materials and storefront, will help Chinese visitors to identify businesses, which cater specifically to Chinese travellers’ needs.
Businesses that have been awarded with this label will also be included on a list available to travellers, who want to plan their trip in advance.
Businesses that would like to be included on the list, do not have to go through a formal application process, but they need to feature at least one of the following services:
▪ A product or a service that is of genuine interest to potential Chinese visitors and meets their distinct cultural needs and expectations
▪ First-hand experience of welcoming Chinese visitors within the past two years
▪ Mandarin speaking staff
▪ Translated websites, apps or literature
▪ Visitor information or signage in Mandarin
▪ Visitor-facing staff who have undergone training about Chinese culture and etiquette
▪ Facilities for customers to pay using China UnionPay
▪ Some form of formal collaboration with a peer organization in China
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