The continuing drive to attract more Chinese visitors to the Lake District and Cumbria is moving up a gear with an extended local tourism industry business delegation setting off for Beijing this week.
A group of six Lakeland-based businesses are flying to the Chinese capital to meet travel trade experts and media. English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, Windermere Lake Cruises, Mountain Goat Tours, Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, the World of Beatrix Potter and Ullswater Steamers are all being represented on the visit.
Working in partnership with the UK’s national tourism agency VisitBritain, the aim is to strengthen business links, increase visitor numbers and promote the Lake District as a destination.
This year’s visit has been strengthened by the establishment of a new China forum under the auspices of the Lake District National Park Authority. The group, which also includes Wordsworth Trust, Lakeland Arts, Forestry Commission and the National Trust, are developing plans to showcase year round stories from the Lake District.
The delegates going to Beijing have also planned a wider remit beyond the VisitBritain schedule, with time set aside in Beijing for targeted meetings with some of China’s top travel operators at their head office locations.
Colin Fox from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues says: “China’s tourism potential is huge. It’s my fourth trip to the country but this year is different as we’re going as a much bigger group representing some of the best attractions which the Lake District has to offer. Our collective strength and diversity will put us more firmly on the map with the travel industry in China.
“The number of Chinese visitors to our hotels has more than tripled since 2012 and our aim is to exploit this continuing upward trend to boost local tourism. This year we have again seen an increase in Chinese visitors and it’s notable that they are extending their travels into the late autumn, something which is atypical amongst most international travellers here.”