Millennials are set to be the driving force of growth in Chinese travel to Scotland, it has been revealed, as the national tourism organisation embarks on a nine-day travel trade mission to China.
Chinese visitor numbers to the UK are expected to rise by almost half, from 260,000 to 384,000, over the next five years, VisitBritain predicts. Scotland currently accounts for almost a fifth (17%) of all Chinese visitors to the UK.
The rise in visitors from China to Scotland and the UK is expected to be driven by the young adult traveller. Research shows that the average age of Chinese visitors to the UK is younger than the average age of all inbound travellers*. In 2016, half of Chinese visitors to the UK were aged between 25 and 44*.
With global market researchers, Phocuswright, estimating that 60% of international Chinese travellers are aged 18-34 years**, and 57.3 million international outbound visits recorded from China in 2016, millennials are seen as a growing target market.
VisitScotland embarked on a nine-day Chinese development mission this week, joined by 11 Scottish businesses, which will involve a comprehensive programme of tailored meetings with major Chinese tour operators and Scotland training for their sales teams. It began as the Scottish Government launched the official programme of events for the 2018 Year of Young People.
The VisitScotland mission, which is also supported by Scottish Development International, will visit Shanghai – which accounts for 17% of outbound travellers from China – Chongqing in the south west and Guangzhou.
Following the mission, VisitScotland will join a number of its partners at Destination Britain China, a three-day tourism showcase organised by VisitBritain in Guangzhou, which provides a unique platform for British destinations, products and suppliers.
China’s growing wealth, the growth in travel to Europe and the UK, as well as Scotland’s appeal on the back of assets such as Harry Potter and, most recently, Outlander, has seen tourism from China to Scotland grow steadily over the past decade.
Connectivity has also been enhanced in recent years by airlines such as Qatar, Etihad and Emirates providing one-stop connections between China and Scotland via the Middle East, and Turkish Airlines and Finnair also competing with British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa for a share of the market.
Research shows Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness to be the top locations in Scotland visited by Chinese travellers. Last year, as part of its ‘China Ready’ initiative, the Scottish capital launched Scotland’s first-ever destination campaign on influential Chinese social media sites Weibo and WeChat, funded by the VisitScotland Growth Fund.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“The future of Scottish tourism lies beyond our shores. From Beijing to Banchory, we are inspiring, supporting and encouraging businesses to match their global growth ambitions.
“China is a hugely important emerging international market and this mission will provide our partners an excellent platform to speak directly to the top travel professionals in some of the country’s most valuable outbound regions.
“It seems fitting that this mission coincides with the programme launch of Scotland’s Year of Young People, as Chinese millennials are seen as a growing market for the future of international tourism.”
The partners joining VisitScotland are:
- Wangping Travel
- Loch Ness by Jacobite
- Trump Turnberry
- DUT (David Urquhart Travel)
- The Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Glasgow
- Royal Highland Hotel, Inverness
- Hamilton & Inches, Edinburgh
- Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews
*Links to VisitBritain profile on Chinese market: https://www.visitbritain.org/markets/china
**Link to Phocuswright report: http://www.phocuswright.com/Travel-Research/Research-Updates/2016/M-Commerce-and-Youth-Feed-Chinas-Outbound-Travel-Boom
Notes to Editors
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- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
- Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
- Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
- Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
- Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
- To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
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- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh) 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
- 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017