Another packed day in China, with a focus on promoting Britain as a fantastic destination for the Chinese. In the morning I was proud to announce VisitBritain’s China Welcome campaign, which kicks-off next spring.
We’re serious about making Britain the most welcoming destination in Europe for Chinese visitors, and this campaign will showcase the unique culture, heritage, food, sport, shopping, countryside and music that the UK has on offer.
Our message was clear, Britain is very much open for business and this is just the beginning.
China is the largest tourism source market in the world, worth $102 billion, and tourism is a key contributor to our growth agenda. In a nutshell, the China Welcome programme aims to secure 650,000 Chinese visits a year by 2020, which is worth over £1 billion to the UK’s annual economy.
UK businesses will benefit too from the campaign, through more exposure to Chinese tourists and, subsequently, more business from China. We want businesses from up and down the country to sign up and get involved in this new game-changing initiative.
From Beijing to Birmingham
To help drive the campaign, today I also announced that Birmingham Airport and Chinese tour operator Caissa are now working together to increase the number of Chinese visitors Caissa brings into the UK through Birmingham Airport, facilitating increased tourism investment in the UK.
In other news, the National Theatre announced a new partnership with the National Theatre of China. To mark the historic event, delegates at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre were treated to the spectacular puppetry of Joey the “War Horse”. It was a very special moment.
It wasn’t just about the UK’s cultural offering. I also visited Shanghai Museum where I saw the most exquisite craftwork in textiles, metalwork, pottery and carvings. These beautiful objects gave me a little more insight into the remarkable breadth of China’s culture and civilisation.
We are off to Chengdu next, where I’m hoping to visit some pandas!