The GREAT China Welcome Charter was launched in March by Visit Britain to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly-growing Chinese market. Visitors from China have doubled in the last five years and tourism bosses hope they will treble again by 2020.
The Charter – which now has close to 200 members - is designed to help Chinese visitors easily identify hotels, attractions, retailers and tour operators that are making themselves ‘China-ready’ by providing information in Chinese and adapting their products for the market.
With Air China set to double its flights from Heathrow to Beijng in October, Heathrow will have 51 departures per week to the mainland from the autumn and 50 to Hong Kong - making it the only UK airport where passengers can travel direct to destinations including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Chengdu.
Chris Butler, Airline Business Development Director said, “China is one of the most valuable markets for the UK and Heathrow is the only airport in the country able to offer regular, direct flights to both Hong Kong and cities in the mainland. We all gain culturally and economically with closer links there, which is why we were delighted to announce Air China’s doubling of services from Heathrow to Beijing, and why we have recently produced a travel guide in Mandarin for Chinese passengers to help provide them with more information about Heathrow when they arrive.”
Jo Leslie, who manages the GREAT China Welcome programme for Visit Britain, said, “There is strong evidence that businesses who go the extra mile in catering for certain nationalities quickly reap the benefits. Heathrow Airport has been quick to recognise the massive potential of the Chinese market and invested accordingly. We’re delighted to be able to count them as one of our members and hope that many more British tourism and hospitality businesses will follow their example.”
For more information about the Charter please see www.visitbritain.org/greatchinawelcome
Note to editors
Membership of the GREAT China Welcome Charter is completely free but is only open to organisations which can prove they are ‘China-ready’ by providing evidence of one or more of the following:
- 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 Union Pay
- Some form of formal collaboration with a peer organisation in China