EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – Scottish tourism businesses were in China last week as part of a VisitScotland business development mission to boost an emerging market already worth £34 million a year.
The ten Scottish companies included The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which has ambitious plans to take its spectacular military show to China in the near future, and Historic Environment Scotland, the owner of Edinburgh Castle which last year welcomed more than 160,000 Chinese visitors.
Representatives from other companies held face-to-face meetings with a number of tour operators in Beijing and Shanghai last Thursday and Friday.
On Friday night, VisitScotland, the Scottish Government and Scottish Development International (SDI) put on a ‘Spirit of Scotland Showcase Evening’ in Beijing, giving tour operators, the travel trade, airlines and other partners the opportunity to network with key contacts and enjoy an evening of traditional Scottish food and entertainment.
Scotland’s national tourism organisation is this week joining a number of its partners at Destination Britain China, a three-day tourism showcase organised by VisitBritain, before heading on to Seoul for Destination Britain South Korea.
The connectivity between China and Scotland has been enhanced in recent years by airlines such as Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines and Finnair, which link the two countries via Qatar, the UAE, Turkey and Finland respectively.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “VisitScotland supports industry in their aspirations to internationalise and to attract more business and income from global markets. China is a hugely important emerging market for Scottish tourism and this business development mission allowed tourism businesses to meet face to face with tour operators in Shanghai and Beijing. It gave our partners an excellent platform to showcase their products and we look forward to welcoming more Chinese visitors to Scotland as a result.”
David Leven, Greater China Director at Scottish Development International, said: “There is huge scope for trade and investment relationships between China and Scotland to continue to grow. As well as offering a unique visitor experience, Scotland – with five of the world’s top 200 ranked universities – provides educational excellence in a safe, clean and economical environment.”
Susan Lawton, Head of Sales at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “This year we witnessed an extraordinary 600 per cent increase in Chinese visitors, making up around 2,000 members of our total audience. For us, this demonstrates the appetite the Chinese people have for the Tattoo and we’re excited about the prospect of bringing the world’s best known military event to this wonderful country in the future.”
Lindsay Robertson, Sales Executive at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Currently Chinese visitors account for 5 per cent of total visits to our ticketed sites, with Scotland’s top visitor attraction Edinburgh Castle welcoming more than 160,000 Chinese visitors last year alone. This event gave us a valuable opportunity to further develop and increase our trade business within this market, while raising awareness and product knowledge of Scotland’s heritage tourism offering.”
John Somers, First Secretary for Scottish Affairs, People’s Republic of China, said: “Called by the pipes of the Tattoo to the enduring beauty of our rural landscape and the dynamic excitement of our cities, more and more Chinese visitors are making Scotland their destination of choice.”
VisitScotland’s partners on its business development mission to China were:
- Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop – Dumfries & Galloway
- Historic Environment Scotland
- Wangping Travel – Edinburgh
- Go2Scotland – Edinburgh
- The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Tourism Action Group
- The National Trust for Scotland
- Royal Highland Hotel – Inverness
- Apex Hotels – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee
- Cruise Loch Lomond – Tarbet, Argyll
- House of Turin – Forfar, Angus