Developed by the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, the initiative will bring together a range of existing and new activities to support Edinburgh’s tourism businesses, including training and information sessions on Chinese culture, preferences and expectations, practical advice on issues such as translation, use of e-commerce and social media, as well as the opportunity to join a network of China friendly businesses and share best practice.
Robin Worsnop, Chair of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, said: “The growth of the
Chinese visitor market to Edinburgh in recent years has been far faster than
we anticipated which presents a great opportunity for the city’s tourism sector.
We really want to build on that and the China Ready Initiative aims to provide businesses with information and practical support to help them make the most of this opportunity and ensure that Edinburgh offers a great experience for our Chinese guests.”
The city already enjoys important cultural and diplomatic links with China: the latest Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo featured 150 performers from China, there are over 3,000 Chinese students in Higher Education in the capital and Edinburgh is the only city in the UK to have been chosen to care for two giant pandas.
The Chinese visitor market has grown five-fold in the last decade and Edinburgh Castle alone welcomed over 100,000 Chinese visitors in 2014. Other key businesses in the city, including hotels, visitor attractions and retailers have all reported increasing Chinese visitor numbers and the initiative aims to build on this to position Edinburgh as a China friendly destination and underpin the capital’s longterm strategic ambition to develop direct air routes with China.
A spokeperson for the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Edinburgh said: “To Chinese people, Scotland is a wonderful land with long history, unique culture, fascinating scenery and warm people. It has opened its arms to Chinese people, making the nation and its capital must-go destinations for Chinese tourists. Moreover, Edinburgh is working even harder to accommodate Chinese tourists, to make them feel at home. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and will pay off in the end. The people to people exchange is an important part of the relations between China and Scotland and the Chinese Consulate General is looking forward to working closely with Scotland to strengthen tourism cooperation between the two sides.”
Tristan Nesbitt, General Manager of Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa and Chair of Edinburgh Hotels Association said: “Chinese customers are already an important and increasing part of our international client base, so we’re delighted to collaborate in this initiative to share best practice and continue to develop Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s premier China-Ready destinations”.
The first phase of the initiative will be delivered throughout Winter 2015 and Spring 2016.