The prime minister joined the boss of Ctrip – Asia’s leading online travel agency – in China last week, as VisitBritain unveiled marketing initiatives to target Chinese tourists.
The tourism agency has signed a deal with Ctrip’s Destination Marketing to increase brand awareness, expand UK product distribution channels and promote the UK as a “must-visit-now” destination for Chinese outbound travellers.
The partnership will use creative content from VisitBritain’s new ‘I Travel For…’ global marketing campaign to amplify its marketing reach in China and convert the inspiration to visit Britain into bookings.
Speaking at the China-UK Business Forum during her recent trade mission to China, prime minister Theresa May said: “We have seen the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK increase substantially in the last year or so, and we also see, of course, numbers of UK visitors coming here to China. We want to see both of those increasing.”
She also spoke about VisitBritain’s latest global tourism campaign, ‘I Travel For…’ which was launched during the trade mission.
“Come and find great food, great relaxation, great scenery, great cultural heritage,” said May.
Jane Sun, Ctrip chief executive, said Ctrip’s commitment to promoting tourism was demonstrated by its purchase in November 2016 of flight search engine Skyscanner, which helps the Chinese online travel group to target the country’s outbound tourism industry.
There were a record 268,000 visits to the UK from China from January-September 2017, up 33% year-on-year. Spending rose 48% to a record £557 million.
Visits from China to the UK have more than doubled during the last decade.
Pictured are Sun (right) with the prime minister at the UK-China Business Forum.