Skift Take

The initiative is a weak attempt to make up for lost time. Fortunately for the UK, the number of outbound Chinese travelers will continue to grow and travel to destinations where visa regulations are the easiest to get through.

In an attempt to triple the number of annual Chinese visitors from 200,000 in 2013 to 650,000 in 2020,  VisitBritain is launching an initiative that highlights the businesses best prepared to welcome Chinese visitors.

Companies can include the below logo on their website, marketing material, and storefronts to indicate that they have Mandarin-speaking staff, accept UnionPay credit cards, or offer a service tailored specifically to Chinese visitors.

Participating businesses will also be included on a list available to Chinese visitors who want to plan their trip in advance.

VisitBritain hopes the new initiative improves Chinese visitors’ experiences.

“The Great China Welcome Chartermark will help Chinese visitors enjoy their visits more with quality services by the British practitioners,” Cultural Minister Counsellor Mr Xiang Xiaowei says in a statement.

The campaign is part of the country’s efforts to differentiate itself from its European neighbors as well as encourage companies to make Chinese visitors feel more welcome. The UK is behind other countries in realizing the spending power of the growing traveler demographic.

It did not relax visa requirements for Chinese citizens until October after seeing its neighbor France reap the rewards of the travelers’ high-spending habits.

Although there’s no formal application process, businesses will have to offer one or more of the following services to be included in the charter:

  • A product or a service that is of genuine interest to potential Chinese visitors and meets their distinct cultural needs and expectations
  • First-hand experience of welcoming Chinese visitors within the past two years
  • Mandarin speaking staff
  • Translated websites, apps or literature
  • Visitor information or signage in Mandarin
  • Visitor-facing staff who have undergone training about Chinese culture and etiquette
  • Facilities for customers to pay using China UnionPay
  • Some form of formal collaboration with a peer organization in China

The logo indicating companies are part of the Great China Welcome program is shown below:

GREAT China Welcome logo - low res


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Tags: china, uk, visitbritain

Photo credit: VisitBritain CEO Sandie Dawe unveils the Chartermark at Blenheim Palace on Friday, March 14, 2014. VisitBritain

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