Chinese Tourism in Scotland: Visiting the Splendid and Beautiful Valley
In 2014, Scotland welcomed 2.7 million international visitors. Over 400,000 Americans, 300,000 Germans and 150,000 Australians arrived to summit Ben Lomond, explore the battlements at Stirling Castle and experience the buzz of the Fringe.
While other visitors arrived from Canada, Norway, Spain and Poland, one nation is conspicuously absent from the list: China. A mere 33,000 Chinese tourists visited the country in 2014, around one-third the number who arrived from Spain.
With 1.3 billion citizens and a burgeoning middle class, the Chinese tourism market is incredibly lucrative.
Earlier this month, tourism experts met in Edinburgh to discuss the how to best leverage Scotland’s relationship with the Asian giant and market Scotland as a key tourist destination.
With such a lucrative demographic on the horizon, hotels and restaurants are being urged to offer Chinese friendly menus and tour companies are being encouraged to offer trips and tours in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Alongside these sort of grassroots changed are wider campaigns to raise Scotland’s profile in the east and position the country as an attractive holiday destination.
One of the largest campaigns to attract Chinese visitors came in 2014. The Great Names for Great Britain campaign ran for 10 weeks and asked people to suggest new names in Mandarin for famous British landmarks.
Run across popular websites like Weibo, WeChat and YouTube, the campaign generated over 13,000 new names for 101 British icons.
VisitScotland’s head of international marketing Denise Hill said:
“The Great Names campaign has proved a fun and entertaining way for us to engage with Scotland’s Chinese market, which is growing year-on-year.
“These extraordinary new monikers will only serve to lend even more intrigue and romance to places throughout Scotland which in turn will lead to further increases in visits from China.”
The suggestions are outstanding and amusing in equal measure. The Highland Games were renamed strong-man skirt parties, Glen Coe is now splendid and beautiful valley and haggis is remarketed as baa baa pudding.
(Another suggestion for haggis was Scottish lamb innards stew. Voters clearly made the correct choice.)
Some other top translations included:
- The Willow Tea Rooms: 唯乐茶屋 — Always happy tea room
- Malt Whisky Trail: 香酒巷 — Fragrant liqueur lane
- The Wallace Monument: 勇者心碑 — Monument to brave heart
- Glenfinnan Viaduct: 天堑飞虹 — Highland rainbow
- Royal Mile: 融蕴美径 — Beautiful street with long history and profound culture
- Loch Ness Monster: 尼斯魅影 — Phantom of Loch Ness
- The Kelpies: 铠魄巨马 — Glorious armoured giant horses
- Cairngorms National Park: 云原雪岭 — Snow mountains reaching into sky
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