Market & Trade Profile
Updated January 2006
Market & Trade Profile
Updated January 2006
CONTENTS 1 – THE MARKET
1. Market Snapshot
2. General Market Conditions
• Population / Languages
• Economics / Politics
• Holidays / Annual Leave
• General Emerging Consumer Trends
3. Access Overview
• Political, Passport & Visa issues
• Gateways / Access to Britain
4.Market Size / Share
• Current and forecast overall market size / Britain’s % share
• Current volume / value statistics and trends for UK
• Key Competitor Destinations – actual & aspirational
5.Market Shape / Dynamics
• Purpose of visit
• Length of stay
• Regional spread / top towns
• Seasonal spread
• Type of Accommodation – where do they stay?
6.Britain’s Brand Image in China
• The bigger picture – Britain as a nation brand
• Britain as a tourist destination – DEPTH, HEART, VITALITY
7.Product / Market Fit
• What products / experiences are most attractive to Chinese visitors?
8.Who is the Chinese Visitor to Britain?
• Demographics (age, gender) / key market segments /
• 1st timer / repeat markets
9.Understanding Chinese Culture
• Practicalities / language & information issues
• Interaction tips
• Accommodation / Food & drink
10. Reaching Chinese Consumers
• Deciding, planning & booking patterns for travel
• Online environment / Internet access
• Media habits
CONTENTS 2 – THE TRADE / BVE
11. The Trade
• Overview of Trade structure
• Reaching the Trade
12. Business Visits & Events
• Statistics & Trends
13. VisitBritain in China
• Working in Partnership with VisitBritain
• Overseas contacts
• London contacts / Further information
• Information sources used to compile this report
1) Market Snapshot
GENERAL MARKET CONDITIONS • UK awarded ADS status in January 2005
• Population 1.3 billion and growing
• IMF Forecasts 2006: GDP (based on PPP per capita) USD$6.700.
GDP Growth Rate 8%. Inflation 3.8%
MARKET SIZE / MARKET SHARE
MARKET SHAPE / MARKET DYNAMICS
PRODUCT / MARKET FIT
POTENTIAL CONSUMER SEGMENTS
• Valid passport and Visa is required for Chinese nationals.
Visa is a barrier issue.
• Gateways / Routes to UK – Direct primarily Beijing and Shanghai
to London Heathrow
• Airlines – BA, Virgin, China Eastern, Air China
• 16 million outbound in 2004. UK has 0.6% market share
• UK ranked 16th outbound destination (top three are Hong Kong,
• 95,000 visits in 2004 (up 41% on 2003)
• £131m spent in 2004 (up 3% on 2003). AEV £1,371; AED £61
• 38% are BUSINESS visitors; 23% HOLIDAY; 21% VFR
• 28% stay 15 nights or more; 24% stay 8-14 nights. HOLIDAY
visits are much shorter than this (37% 1-3 nights)
• 2/3 visit in last 6 months of the year
• DEPTH VALUES – tradition, cultural events & attractions, stories
around the sights
• As modern as it is traditional
• Scenically beautiful and relaxing
• History / Heritage / Royalty; Education (Oxford & Cambridge);
British Culture; Natural Scenic Beauty / Landscapes; Shopping; Sport.
• 58% of visitors in 2004 were aged 25-44. Male skew (fits with
• ADS tourists – very broad characteristics
• Business & official visits
• Education related travel
• Some independent travel (those who may have studied or worked
in UK previously)
REACHING THE CHINESE CONSUMER • Internet access 9.5%
• Travel trade are relied upon heavily
2) General Market Conditions
Population / Languages
The US Census Bureau puts the population of China at approximately
www.china.com.cn offers population forecasts as:
It is estimated that China's population will reach its peak between 2034-
2037 at around 1.486bn and then start to level down gradually.
65% of the Chinese population is aged under 40 at present, but by 2044
it is forecast that the under-40s will represent 44% of the population as
the age-structure of the population becomes older. Indeed, it is forecast
that by 2044 there will be over 3 million Chinese aged 95 or older.
Languages: - Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the
Beijing dialect) is the official spoken language. Local dialects include:
Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaniese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan
(Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka
Economics / Politics
The Peoples Republic of China is still a Communist state, but
communism comes with a small “c” these days. According to the China
Brand Strategy Association, about 175 million Chinese people, 13% of
the population, can now afford high-end luxury goods. By 2010, that
number is estimated to reach 250 million, based on a 20% year-on-year
growth rate expected for the coming five years. This ties in with the
World Tourism Organisation forecast that outbound travel will grow as
wealth increases, possibly reaching 100 million outbound visits by 2020.
Figures from the IMF reveal that Chinese GPD has increased by more
than 7% per annum each year since 1991, and by 2006 will account for
14% of global GDP measured in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP)
– this adjusts the figure to take account of different costs and prices
from one country to another. Per capita GDP is expected to be around
$6,700 in PPP terms in 2006, however in absolute terms this equates to
China is now a member of the World Trade Organisation and further
economic liberalisation is expected in the coming years, but the Chinese
authorities have stated that they want the benefits of further reform to
be targeted at the rural poor.
Economics / Politics continued
Global Insight estimate that on current growth projections China will be
the world’s largest single economy by 2050. China is already the
world’s largest consumer of grain, meat, coal and steel. In the
near-term, the IMF forecast that in 2006 China’s economy will expand
by 8.2% and inflation will remain relatively subdued at 3.8%.
China now allows the Yuan to float within a limited range against a
basket of currencies, rather than having a fixed peg against the US$.
However, there is still considerable pressure on China to allow a further
appreciation in the value of the Yuan. As at October 2005 there were
14.2 Yuan to the Pound.
China has, at best, cool relations with Japan, despite growing trade
between the two nations. The legal status of Taiwan is a further, as yet
unresolved, political difficulty.
Holidays / Annual Leave
The peak times to travel are during the three golden weeks: Lunar New
Year (late January or early February), Labour Day (1st May) and National
Day (1st October).
General Emerging Consumer Trends
The Dragon is awake
The attitudinal prerequisites for a travel boom in China seem to be firmly
in place – and recent qualitative research amongst consumers from this
new, quietly confident middle class confirms it. They are very proud of
China’s progress and prosperity, believe their own PR (the fastest train in
the world, an F1 race track) and are seeing tourists coming to their own
country to admire it. Now it’s their turn.
Curiosity, money and leisure time, a lifting of the exit barriers and more
personal and national confidence are all contributing as catalysts for
international travel. As overseas travel is also seen as a “badge of
sophistication”, it is anticipated that status anxiety will further push the
travel bug to more and more Chinese.
Will China demonstrate a quicker progression through
Some have commented that although China is looking similar to Japan
and South Korea in its early stages – i.e. heavy emphasis on group travel
and reliance on the travel trade, it may actually develop more quickly as
a market for travel as it has done in so many other areas of development.
Some of the key developments are:
Short Haul to Long Haul
1st time traveller to repeat visitor
Group tour to DIY to independent travel
Golden Weeks to off-peak / individual
Trophy tourism to experiential tourism
Only time will tell, and a lot will depend on the levels of restrictions
capping the development of these trends. Currently ADS visas are only
permissible for group tours of 5 or more people – groups, which are
highly bound to rules, and regulations that inhibit the development of
independence in travel.
China’s “one child” policy has led to the term “little emperor” to describe
the often spoiled and indulged consequences of a situation where family
life revolves around the needs and future ambition for the single
youngster. The majority of “little emperors” are boys. It is not hard to
imagine how this need to pamper, educate and expand the mind of the
cherished sole future generation could cross over into international
travel as a key means of development.
3) Access Overview
Chinese tourists are officially allowed to travel to countries that have
been granted Approved Destination Status (ADS). Britain was granted
ADS on 21st of January 2005. It was implemented with effect from 1st
of July 2005 at which time Chinese nationals were first allowed to enter
Britain for group leisure travel (minimum group size of 5), rather than
simply for visiting friends/relatives or studying and business.
Passport and Visa Issues
Chinese visitors must apply for a 6-month multiple entry visa. The UK
visa can be difficult to get, expensive with a high refusal rate and long
decision time. Obtaining a visa is the single biggest deterrent to UK
tourism promotion in China due to complex procedures, extra time, risk
and cost. Recent qualitative research (September 2005) in China
amongst consumers, trade, government and airlines confirms this
hypothesis and indicates that ACCESSIBILITY rather than COST of visa is
the key problem.
For consumers, a rejected visa application can be worse than having not
applied in the first place as successful stamps in the passport are a door
to further international travel. As a consequence, perceived “easier”
visas may be sought first (e.g. Australia, South East Asia) before trading
up to Schengen, then UK or USA.
For trade, approval is the number one problem and the need for a
separate UK visa seriously undermines the country’s attractiveness.
Narrow travel windows (Golden Weeks) plus length of time to approve a
Schengen visa can be erratic. The addition of a UK visa can add 1-2
weeks to planning – and with demand going strong for European tours
regardless of country inclusions, the temptation is to take the path of
The key issues are:
UK is not a Schengen country. A separate visa to enter Britain is
required. This involves extra effort, time and cost - a significant
competitive disadvantage for Britain.
The UK visa is the most expensive visa in Europe. The new ADS visa,
single or dual entry valid for one month costs £51. Applicants have to
pay an extra £14 as a processing fee charged by the Visa Application
Centre. In comparison, a tourist visa to the 15 Schengen countries costs
less than £30.
The only advantage is that the visa application is now available in 12
cities as opposed to the 4 covered by the FCO. There is no evidence
that this will make obtaining a UK tourist visa easier or quicker. This is
mainly due to communication problems between UK visa service, VFS
and travel agents created by the new system.
Schengen countries, especially Germany, Italy, Netherlands and France,
are reviewing their ADS policy because of the increasing number of
abuses and absconders. Many previously accredited Chinese travel
agents are being suspended by the Schengen countries. The UK visa
service in China follows suit even though we are not part of the
In some markets, one of which is China, the FCO has outsourced the
visa process to commercial companies. Whilst the obvious advantage of
this is that visas can be applied for in a wider range of cities, there is
nonetheless a more negative aspect.
Main Gateways Servicing China
Gateways / Access to Britain
In 2004 (IPS), 87% of Chinese visitors travelled to UK by air and a further
13% via the Channel Tunnel or Sea (in all likelihood as part of a wider
All flights between China and UK fly into London Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic Airways:
LHR: Flights from Beijing
Shanghai: 5 flights per week
Beijing: 6 flights per week
Shanghai: 5 flights per week
China Eastern Airlines
Shanghai: 4 flights per week
Beijing: 6 flights per week
Also checked through connections from Chengdu, Shenyang, Shenzhen
and Harbin via Shanghai
Alternative carriers offer indirect services such as Cathay Pacific via
4) Market Size / Share
Current & Forecast Market Size
Global Insight estimates that there were almost 16 million outbound
overnight visits from China in 2004. By 2010, this is forecast to be almost
31 million – a growth of 93%.
The WTO forecast that outbound travel could reach 100 million visits by
UK currently accounts for 0.6% of all outbound trips from China – and
this percentage is likely to be the same in 2010.
Current Volume and Value Statistics / Trends
IPS 2003 2004 Change
year on year
Total Visits 68,000 95,000 +41%
(League Table No. Outside top 30 rankings
Visitors to UK)
Total Spend £127m £131m +3%
Spend Rank 22 24 Down 2 places
£ Spend in UK)
Average Spend £1,876 £1,371 -27%
per Visit (AEV)
AEV Rank 4 5 Down 1 place
Average Spend £72 £60 -17%
per Day (AED)
AED Rank 18 26 Down 8 places
Note: The expenditure figures for China have to be read with caution,
as the sample size is quite small for this market.
2004 was the best ever-recorded year for visits and spends from China.
Key Competitor Destinations – actual
Global Tourism Navigator shows us that the UK was 16th in the actual
ranking of top destinations (short and long haul included) for Chinese
outbound travel in 2004.
Asia, Hong Kong, Macao and Thailand attract most of the tourists from
1 Hong Kong 6 Singapore
2 Macau 7 Russia
3 Thailand 8 South Korea
4 Vietnam 9 Japan
5 Italy 10 Malaysia
16 United Kingdom
Key Competitor Destinations - aspirational
According to the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index (Wave 3 2005),
which surveys a representative n=1000 sample of the online population
in China, the UK is ranked 4th out of 24 (i.e. not all potential are asked
about) destinations that would be likely for a leisure visit “if money were
1 France 6 Switzerland
2 United States 7 Canada
3 Germany 8 Italy
4 UK 9 Sweden
5 Australia 10 South Korea
Competition from other European destinations remains strong.
According to VB intelligence, France and Italy get the lion’s share of
China’s Europe bound market.
Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Germany and Switzerland are all
highly visible in the market. Switzerland will start to issue Schengen visa
by 2008 at the latest. Many East European destinations offer new and
5) Market Shape / Dynamics
Purpose of Visit
The biggest proportion of Chinese visitors come to the UK for
However, the business share has declined from 57% in 1999 to 38% in
2004, whereas the proportion of holiday visitors has increased from 16%
in 1999 to 23% in 2004.
We must bear in mind that IPS figures on “purpose” for China may be
misleading. This is due to the fact that until January 2005, there was no
ADS agreement in place to allow holiday travel to the UK. Specifically,
those stating a business purpose are equally likely to have had some
holiday element to the visit.
VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects research (2005), found that
three-quarters of best prospects (those already planning or very likely to
visit) were interested in visiting Britain for a holiday and now that ADS is
signed it will be possible to travel in this way.
There is more on business visits specifically in section 12 of this document.
21% of Chinese visitors are VFR visitors.
The 2001 census found that there were 51,717 UK residents who had
been born in China – an increase of 117% on the 1991 census. These
residents are most likely to be found in London, the South East and the
North West of England.
In 2004, 15% of Chinese visitors visited the UK for study. This proportion
represented only 3% in 1999. Although long-term study is not counted
in tourism statistics by IPS, this can be an important source market for
VFR visits. In 2004, UCAS had 39,445 Chinese applicants for degree
courses (of which 6324 were accepted – making China the largest
source market for UK overseas higher education students). The most
popular subjects taken in 2004 were: Business & Administration,
Engineering and Mathematics.
The FCO estimate that 32,000 Chinese students are currently
undertaking some form of study in UK.
5) Market Shape / Dynamics continued
Length of Stay
Overall, 28% of Chinese visitors stay in the UK for 15 nights or more
and 24% for 8-14 nights. Three-quarters of study visitors stay 15 nights
The length of stay of holiday visitors is much shorter - 37% of them stay
for 1-3 nights.
98% of Chinese visitors stayed in England, 64% in London, 12% in
Scotland and 3% in Wales in 2004 (IPS).
In the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index Wave 3 2005, we asked 1000
Chinese participants how well they felt they knew the regions of Britain
– giving a score of 1-7 and taking into account any of the ways they had
learned or heard about each region. 1 = never heard of the region and 7
= know the region very well.
Chinese participants were significantly more likely to be aware of
London than any of the other regions – including the concept of Great
Britain overall. Awareness of other parts of England, and of Scotland was
similar. Chinese were least aware of Wales as a region of Britain.
According to IPS, two thirds of Chinese residents visit in the last 6
months of the year. The periods July-September and October-December
each account for about one third of holiday visits.
The most popular period for VFR visitors is October-December (41%).
3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5
The majority of participants in this online survey had NOT visited Britain
previously, but looking at the 240 Chinese who had ever visited Britain,
the scores for each region do increase (although none significantly).
In VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects research (2005), we asked our
best prospects about their levels of interest in visiting different areas of
Britain: London, England outside of London, Scotland and Wales.
London was hugely popular relative to the rest of the country, which
may suggest that London is almost synonymous with Britain as a
destination for the Chinese. Scotland was slightly more attractive than
Wales and other parts of England.
Hotel and guesthouse are Chinese visitors’ most popular type of
accommodation - 60% stayed in a Hotel/guesthouse in 2004, but this
accounted for only 15% of nights spent in total.
Only 8% of Chinese visitors stayed at a hostel/University/School but it
represents 42% of all nights spent in the UK as study visitors stay for
such a long time.
Around 80% of Holiday and Business visitors stay at a Hotel or
88% of VFR visitors stay as free guests but 47% stay at a Hotel or
Guesthouse, suggesting that some Chinese visitors make use of both
types of accommodation.
6) Britain’s Brand Image in China
The bigger picture – Britain as a “nation brand”
The UK is further down the ranking scale as a country that is
competently, honestly and fairly governed (13th), and in comparison to
the majority of the other countries on the NBI Index, the UK is not
perceived to be a country that behaves responsibly in the areas of
international peace and security (21st).
The Chinese perceive the US, Germany, Russia and the UK to make a
major contribution to innovations in science and technology. The
Chinese view products that are made in the US, Germany, France and
the UK positively.
The Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index (Wave 3 2005) is an online panel
survey of 1000 Chinese. Overall, the Chinese rate the UK well on all
aspects of the Brand Hexagon with the exception of GOVERNANCE,
which is ranked in 13th position, compared to the other countries
The 6 points of the hexagon are made up of several different questions,
which compare 24 countries as Nation Brands.
The Chinese rank the INVESTMENT dimension the highest (2nd place
behind the US), followed by EXPORTS in 3rd place. This indicates that
despite their relatively low opinion of the UK government the Chinese
would still be happy to live and work in the UK. They also appreciate
products produced in the UK.
The Chinese also have an appreciation of British CULTURE (ranked in
4th position behind US, France and Russia). TOURISM is also ranked in
4th position (behind Egypt, France and Italy). The Chinese rank the
British PEOPLE in 5th place.
Chinese respondents perceive the UK to offer a balanced mix of both
rich cultural heritage (4th place) and interesting and exciting
contemporary culture such as music, films, art and literature (3rd place).
The US and Russia are countries that the Chinese consider to excel in
sport and the UK is ranked in 6th place.
The bigger picture – Britain as a “nation brand”
The UK is not perceived to be a welcoming destination for the Chinese,
who do not feel they would be made to feel welcome by the British
people, ranking the UK in 16th position compared to the other countries
in the survey. Interestingly, the French are perceived to offer the biggest
welcome to the Chinese, followed by the Australians and Canadians.
The Chinese would most like to have a person from France, Germany or
Canada as a close friend, with the British in 6th position.
In the world of employment, British people do best through Chinese
eyes, coming in 3rd place behind the US and Germany as the preferred
nationality to fill an important position in their company.
If money were no object, France, USA, Germany and the UK would be
the top destinations to visit for the Chinese. The Chinese perceive the
UK to be more a country rich in built heritage/historical heritage (6th),
than rich in natural scenic beauty (11th), compared to the other
On aspects of governance, the Chinese perceive the UK to be a country
that behaves responsibly towards international concerns over the
environment and world poverty (7th), and a country that respects the
human rights of its citizens and treats them with fairness (8th).
The UK is ranked as 8th most popular country to live and work in for a
substantial period of time - interestingly France is the most popular.
The US and the UK are considered good places to study for educational
Britain as a Destination Brand –
DEPTH, HEART & VITALITY
According to research conducted (pre-ADS) for the development of the
Britain Brand (Project Lion 2002) in China, perceptions of Britain were
fairly limited with key points of interest being its inherent ‘otherness’, its
unique cultural history and its current global standing.
Britain’s (at the time of research) lack of “Approved Destination Status”,
as well visa restrictions that some respondents had experienced,
contributed to a sense of its being a very rigid, serious country, with a
fairly dour population. Some Chinese spoke of its continued influence
throughout the world, and expressed a desire to find out more about its
“ Getting a tourist visa for Britain is very difficult. It depends on the
money you have in the bank, if the hotel has confirmed, etc.”
“England is the origin of the changes that happen in the world, the
source of development.”
At the time of research (pre-ADS), there was little notion of Chinese
people wanting to visit Britain purely for leisure. They spoke of having
an extended stay there, during which they would look to cross off the
key monuments in London, and, in some instances, attempt to gain
some insight or learning that they might take back with them to China.
In addition, there was also some interest in Britain, and London in
particular, in terms of its multi-cultured status. Several people saw this as
providing a sense of security during their trip, as well as a way into the
Wave 3 2005 of the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index, included
questions to measure perceptions of Britain as a holiday destination on
attributes related to Britain’s brand values, DEPTH, HEART & VITALITY.
In the NBI, 1000 Chinese participants rated Britain on a scale of 1-7,
where 1 was “poor” and 7 was “excellent” and overall, they gave a range
of mean scores from 4.83 – 5.35 across the 16 attributes.
DEPTH is the strongest brand value for China overall - a combination of
tradition, cultural events & attractions and stories around the sights in
particular. However, Britain is almost equally likely to be seen as modern
as it is traditional, and our natural scenic beauty is a twin USP to the
heritage & culture dimension.
Being beautiful and relaxing are stronger HEART dimensions for Britain
than the explicitly human ones of friendly, welcoming and sense of
Weaker areas overall are perceptions of Britain having vibrant and
exciting cities and of there being always something new to discover in
Britain. Britain is also relatively weaker perceptually on the VITALITY
elements of energy and sociability.
6) Britain’s Brand Image in China continued
Looking only at the 240 Chinese participants who had ever visited
Britain, perceptions improve somewhat with real experience on ALL
brand dimensions – but this is significantly true for some VITALITY
elements of being a destination that is energetic, sociable and has
vibrant and exciting cities. Perceptions of DEPTH attributes are least
likely to change with experience.
The weakest attribute remains the concept of Britain offering “something
new to discover”, and we must be prepared to address this with the
advent of ADS leisure groups. Unless we can give Chinese visitors
enough to whet the appetite for repeat visits, we run the risk of falling
prey to the “done that / tick-off” mentality.
This is a simplified diagram showing the relative strengths of the
different brand attributes. People were asked to rate Britain on each
attribute using a scale of 1-7 (where 1=poor and 7=excellent). As
nobody rated below 4 or above 6, the diagram has a mid-point of 4 and
an outer rim of 6. Basically, the closer the shading to the outer rim, the
better the perception of Britain on that attribute!
7) Product / Market Fit
General motivators for international travel
VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects research found that perceived safety
of a destination is of paramount importance to Chinese travellers – with
three-quarters saying it was “extremely important” when considering a
destination. Ease of getting a visa for a destination was rated as
“extremely important” by a third.
Important “product” factors that Chinese travellers look for in a
destination are natural scenic beauty (43% “extremely important”),
well-known landmarks (31%) and friendly local people (30%).
Sources of impressions on Britain
In the Public Diplomacy Brand Tracking research (late 2003), we asked
young (18-40), ABC1, well-educated Chinese respondents to identify
key sources of information that had been most important in helping
them to form an opinion about the UK. The top 5 were:
Internet / Websites 58%
Local Press 41%
National TV news 37%
Word of Mouth (friends & family) 19%
Only 5% felt they knew the UK very well, 41% knew a fair amount, and
54% knew just a little. Chinese respondents felt that they knew the USA
better than the UK.
72% had a favourable opinion about the UK (and only 8% unfavourable).
Top of mind reasons given for favourability were “welcoming / friendly /
courteous” (20%), “culture / lifestyle / heritage” (20%) and “good
opportunities / career” (17%).
Qualitatively, we find that the image of Britain in China is one influenced
by detective novels (e.g. foggy weather, men with beards and walking
sticks). Most Chinese people have limited knowledge of the country.
The perception of Britain is mainly known for its history and heritage:
famous museums and castles, a strong image of the Royal family plus
being famous for its international fashion houses.
Most prospective tourists perceive Britain as an old-fashioned and
conservative country. Britain is associated with the bowler hat, foggy
London, and Charles Dickens-like images. Few people will change their
perception even after a sightseeing trip to Britain, most of which only
embrace UK’s traditional relics.
Journalists can even perpetuate the myths - as a quote from a recent
Chinese focus group demonstrates:
“Chinese newspapers say that Britain is boring, rainy days and fogs –
but my friends tell me there is no fog anymore”
Sources of impressions on Britain continued
Recent qualitative research in China identified a few key culprits of myth
perpetuation – namely Sherlock Holmes, literature from school and
university (e.g. Dickens) and old films such as Waterloo Bridge, The 39
Steps and Death on the Nile – which despite being set in Egypt was a
key source of the “English gentleman” imagery that is so pervasive in
Limited updates on Britain seemed to be getting through (some
contemporary films e.g. Mr Bean, Notting Hill and Harry Potter).
What products / experiences are most attractive to
History / Heritage / Royalty
In recent qualitative research (September 2005), it was evident that the
Chinese have a mutual respect for Britain’s “1000 year old history” –
they see kinship here between China and Britain. They are very
interested in famous landmarks and monuments that represent the key
sights of Britain’s history and heritage. Royalty and aristocracy are big
draws and the Chinese express an interest in experiencing life in palaces
and castles, following in the footsteps of royalty, etc.
In the Online Best Prospects research (2005), 2/3 agreed that “visiting
castles, churches, monuments, historic houses” would be extremely
important to them during a visit to Britain – by far the most endorsed
product area tested.
7) Product / Market Fit continued
What products / experiences are most attractive to
Chinese visitors? Continued
Education / Oxford & Cambridge / British Culture
In Chinese culture, travelling is a way of self-improvement and learning,
to experience a different culture and increase knowledge of a foreign
country. Interest in centres of learning also extends into an appreciation
of British culture – and particularly the “English Gent”. In China, “WEN
HUA” (culture) is a key part of the travel experience.
“Britain has its own special culture, different to Europe or America”.
Qualifications from British universities hold high prestige, as does the
concept of Britain as the home of the English language and the home
country of the famous writer Shakespeare. It is perceived that having
obtaining an internationally recognised qualification will increase status
and help Chinese citizens find a higher paid job in China.
Britain is strongly associated as the home of the two most famous
universities, Cambridge and Oxford, and there is almost a pilgrimage
facet to the experience sought:
“I’d like to enjoy the thick atmosphere for study in Oxford and
Cambridge is made more famous by a well-known poem written by a
Goodbye Again, Cambridge!
I leave softly, gently,
Exactly as I came.
I wave to the western sky,
Telling it goodbye softly, gently.
The golden willow at the river edge
Is the setting sun's bride.
Her quivering reflection
Stays fixed in my mind.
Farewells must be quiet, mute,
Even the summer insects are silent,
Knowing I am leaving.
The Cambridge night is soundless.
I leave quietly
As I came quietly.
I am leaving
Without taking so much
As a piece of cloud.
But with a quick jerk of my sleeve
I wave goodbye.
Natural Scenic Beauty / Landscapes
Britain is perceived in qualitative research to be a clean, green and
orderly place – in stark relief to modern China as cities develop at
This concept seems to be a draw for at least 1/3 of prospective visitors.
In the Online Best Prospects research (2005), 38% agreed that “visiting
countryside” would be extremely important to them during a visit to
Britain, 35% for “going to a beach” and 28% for “visiting parks and
Mystery / Unusual
The Chinese consumers we spoke to in recent qualitative research
expressed an interest in mystery, ghost stories and the like, e.g. Harry
Potter, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and the Knights of the Round
Table. Trip diaries from that same research suggested an interest in the
unusual, e.g. having photos taken with “men in skirts” (i.e. Scotsmen)!
The UK travel trade also points out that Chinese are very interested in
“superlatives” and dramatic visual appeal – e.g. the “greatest”, “biggest”,
“most unique”, etc.
Green grass on the bank
Dances on a watery floor
In bright reflection.
I wish myself a bit of waterweed
Vibrating to the ripple.
Of the River Cam.
That creek in the shade of the great elms
Is not a creek but a shattered rainbow,
Printed on the water
And inlaid with duckweed,
It is my lost dream.
Hunting a dream?
Wielding a long punting pole
I get my boat into green water,
Into still greener grass.
In a flood of starlight
On a river of silver and diamond
I sing to my heart's content.
But now, no, I cannot sing
With farewell in my heart.
Premiership football is huge in many Asian markets, including China.
Manchester United launched a credit card in July 2005 – China’s first
affinity credit card. As in other Asian markets, David Beckham is an icon.
As many Asian sporting heroes seek to develop their careers in Britain,
for example footballers in the premiership or on the world stage (e.g.
F1), there will be interest in watching their progress, which is an
opportunity to showcase Britain along with the personalities themselves.
Food & Drink
Evidence suggests that the availability of Asian food in a destination is
important for many Asian markets – and particularly so in growth
markets such as China. This also supports multi-cultural/racial Britain.
Not only do we have strong Asian communities, a great quantity of Asian
restaurants and supermarkets, we are also leading at the top levels of
cuisine – as Chinese restaurants like Yautcha and Hakkasaan, exemplify.
In recent qualitative research (September 2005), bland, uninspiring food
did appear on the list of negative factors about Britain more than it did
for positive ones (except in the area of chocolate and sweets for which
Britain is seen in a good light). This suggests that we still have some way
to go in changing perceptions about British food.
Interestingly, there does also appear to be some desire to experience
British regional food & drink (according to the online best prospects
research in emerging markets – where 44% said trying regional food and
drink would be “very important” on a trip to Britain) and particularly an
interest in Britain’s food and drink culture, e.g. afternoon tea and pubs.
There are further opportunities to promote messages around shared
cultural norms in Britain and China, e.g. taking tea.
7) Product / Market Fit continued
Due to the high cost to travel to Britain, and the tradition of buying gifts
for relatives, friends and colleagues, the majority of Chinese would
prefer to save money on the cost of food and accommodation, but
spend more on gifts and local products for themselves. Famous brands
and local products such as Burberry, Clark’s shoes and Scottish whisky
According to TFWA, fashion, cosmetics and confectionery are the most
popular products for the Chinese travellers to purchase. Chinese
travellers enjoy shopping and are amongst the biggest spenders during
outbound trips. ($987 per person according to the TFWA website).
However, although it’s important to note that Chinese enjoy shopping
and have strong gift-giving traditions, largely other destinations are a
stronger draw for shopping per se (prime example being Hong Kong).
This is largely due to the perceived expensiveness of Britain.
A similar example can be found with gambling. Although gambling is
supposedly popular amongst Chinese, however they are unlikely to seek
it out as a product driver for Britain – rather destinations like Macau
serve most gambling purposes. Nightlife also is unlikely to be a key draw
for Chinese to Britain as China’s own rapidly developing cities can
compete on a far grander stage.
8) Who is the Chinese visitor?
0 -15 4 10
16-24 6 19
25-34 31 23
35-44 33 25
45-54 14 16
55-64 6 8
65+ 7 0
Travelling Group 2003
% of Visits
Lone traveller 50
As a couple/with partner 8
Group of friends 2
Family group 5
Business colleagues 21
Tour group 13
Don't know 2
63% of Chinese visitors are male (rising to 79% for business visitors – the
majority purpose group) and 37% are female. This split is identical
(63/37) for holiday visits. The split is more even but still biased towards
males for VFR, but there are more women than men coming for study
Age data for China fluctuates considerably – largely due to the small
sample sizes in IPS. In 2004, the largest age segment of Chinese visitors
was 25-44 (58% overall). Men in particular are likely to fall into this age
group, with women more evenly spread.
80% of visits from China in 2004 were from Chinese nationals. 11% were
British nationals (expatriates living in China) and 9% were expatriates of
In terms of Travelling Group (IPS 2003), half of the visits from China
were from lone travellers, which fits quite well with a largely business
purpose profile, as does the further 21% who travelled with business
colleagues. We can expect this profile to change significantly over the
years following the ADS status for UK.
According to VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects research (2005), those
who are already planning and/or likely to visit Britain in the next 5 years
are most likely to be aged 25-34. This is tied to the fact that the online
population of China (whom the research panel represented) is heavily
represented by the 25-34 year old age group – more so than the general
population of China.
Most travellers in that survey (84%) would choose to travel to Britain
with their spouse or partner. Adult friends (43%) and adult family
members (31%) were also popular prospective travelling companions.
Half of those who did have dependent children, said that they would
NOT bring the children on a visit to Britain.
8) Who is the Chinese visitor? continued
VB Key Market Segments
For the foreseeable future, only a small fraction of China’s 1.3 billion
population will be in a position to experience the luxury of foreign travel.
Compared to the general population, the people who travel abroad for
long-haul holidays generally have a higher education status and are
more affluent, with a highly paid job. This hypothesis was found to be
true in VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects research (2005), whereby
those either planning / very likely to visit Britain were more likely than
non-Best Prospects to earn more and be working full-time. They were
likely to be educated to a degree or post-graduate degree level.
The current generation of young travellers in China are keen to enjoy
the fruits of their labour and therefore they choose to travel in order to
increase their knowledge.
The majority of outbound international travellers in China are from
Shanghai, Beijing and the Guangdong province. Guangdong comprises
of Guangzhou as the lead city and Shenzhen with its high GDP and
propensity to travel.
The ADS tourist
ADS opens the gate for Chinese tourists to visit Britain in groups of 5 or
more on a pre-determined and fully escorted itinerary. Previously, the
Chinese could only visit Britain as students or business travellers.
Initially this segment will be very broad: those aged 7 to 70, mostly first
time visitors, families with young kids, DINKS & SINKS and retired
ADS UK-only travellers would be on a really rushed sightseeing package
tour of one week to include London, Oxford or Cambridge, Stratford,
Manchester or Liverpool, the Lake District, Edinburgh, York etc.
If the group go to (or return from) mainland Europe they will have a
3-day London centric tour including a one-day trip to Oxford and
Stratford or Cambridge. They are passionate shoppers for brands.
Business and official visits
Travel in small groups (5-9 people) and usually extend a couple of days
sightseeing after business. This segment comprises those aged between
late 20s to late 50s.
A company or organisation usually covers the cost. 3-4 star or even 5
star hotels for senior people are used.
Education related travel
Usually covers summer/winter camp.
Students will be aged 15-22 taking 2 or 3 weeks at a language school.
There will be a touring/sightseeing programme tagged at the end. The
itinerary covers London, part of England and Scotland and of course
Oxford and Cambridge are ‘must sees’. This group also includes some
VFR travel; Those aged 16–60, who are friends and relatives visiting
students at school and families attending graduation ceremonies.
The majority of this group will be first timers so sightseeing will play an
With 32,000 Chinese students studying in the UK at any one time, it will
not be a surprise to see the VFR market grow steadily.
Generally people aged 30-45 who have studied or worked in the UK.
They probably hold key positions in their companies or unit and take
independent holidays with friends, colleagues or families.
They are adventurous and explore a country as well as see famous sites.
They are keen to experience city life, drinks and food, shopping,
museums and pubs, etc. They would travel independently using rail
passes and other good value cards such as the Great British Heritage
London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow will be the main
destinations. They are likely to stay in budget hotels or B&Bs. They tend
to book a long haul holiday well in advance and take such a trip once a
year or every other year.
A Chinese typology – “Strategic Enrichment”
VisitBritain’s qualitative brand development research (Project Lion 2002)
also identified this kind of “Strategic Enrichment” as a particularly
Chinese typology of international traveller. In this developing economy,
there is a keen desire for self-improvement, which motivates some to
travel to places such as Britain.
In VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects Research (2005), 67% of Best
Prospects agreed strongly with the statement: “I am willing to cut back
on other things to travel internationally”, indication perhaps of travel as a
necessity in order to enrich life – an absolute must-do.
Project Lion found that these holidaymakers to Britain are particularly
interested to learn more about universities and financial centres such as
the City of London, which might provide some means for progression.
However, such travellers do not want to step very far beyond their
There is a sense that they might be fairly mercenary in their approach,
looking to get the most out of their trip, with a view to incorporating it
into their lives back at home. In contrast to many non-Westerners, they
are less prone to wanting to look below the surface of Britain, to its
“Like Hong Kong, it’s a capital of dynamism.”
“Add an introduction about universities there. I want to know about
More recent qualitative research in China (September 2005), suggests
that an element of “status anxiety” and peer group conformity will
continue to influence and spread the travel bug that is sweeping China.
Overseas travel has become a badge of sophistication.
“You feel out of the loop if you haven’t been to places they’ve been”.
“The further away, the higher the cost, the prouder you feel”.
“I’d like to show off to my friends that I’ve been to Britain, even if I was
1st Timers & Repeat Visitors
In 2004 (IPS), 47% of Chinese visitors had visited the UK previously
(in the last 10 years).
9) Understanding Chinese Culture
Practicalities / Language & Information Issues
Chinese (Mandarin or Putonghua) speaking guide is a must.
Chinese characters on the main tourist attractions and streets will make
Chinese tourists feel more comfortable.
Chinese translation on tourist literature is a must for suppliers serious
about investing in this market. Literature should be produced in
‘simplified Chinese’ characters, which is used in mainland China
(different for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore where ‘traditional
Chinese’ is used). You are better to have something produced in English
rather than in the incorrect Chinese written form.
Having a Chinese website will benefit the potential customer.
Learn a few Chinese greetings. This would impress your Chinese
clients: Hello - Ni Hao / Thank You - Xie Xie / Bye - Zai Jian.
Numbers have a significant meaning in the Chinese culture. For example
the number four (4) should always be avoided as it means death in the
Chinese language and in contrast eight (8) is a good number as it
Provide information on the process of a ‘tax refund’ as the Chinese enjoy
shopping and will view the tax return policy as a discount and incentive
For package groups, the details of all the expenses should be clear and
advised upfront. They do not appreciate extra costs being incurred
For Chinese business travellers, it is common to add-on leisure time for
touring after a day or several days of business. It is better to plan the
schedule and route in advance and rent a car or a small coach if
necessary for transportation.
Tourists joining package tours prefer an all-inclusive service, including
visa application, accommodation and air tickets, etc.
Frontline staff will require comprehensive training in order to provide a
better service to the Chinese tourist in such things as providing
guidance on what to do, where to eat and where to go.
“Face” is an important part of Chinese culture. Therefore, do not
embarrass Chinese clients even in a joking manner in public.
Do not imitate the Chinese language in a joking manner. This will deeply
offend your clients.
Kissing and hugging are not a common form of greeting with the
Chinese. Many of them would feel embarrassed, especially between
strangers and members of the opposite sex.
Politics is a relatively sensitive topic amongst the Chinese; therefore it
should be avoided at all cost.
Accommodation / Food & Drink
The Chinese prefer to stay in mid-range hotels. The distinction between
twin and double bed rooms is not clearly understood, however most
would prefer to stay in rooms with separate beds.
Generally customers on package tours will share rooms with the same
sex, but you should ensure this is confirmed with them beforehand.
Chinese tourists are used to eating Chinese style lunch & dinner.
Chinese people are very particular about their food. Most would prefer a
hot meal for breakfast. At least one Chinese meal every two days would
If accommodation providers do not have a Chinese restaurant or menu
of their own, they should provide a list of suitable Chinese restaurants
within easy access from the hotel.
Supplying Chinese television programmes and Chinese newspapers plus
green tea, toiletries and slippers in the bedroom will put you at a
Feeling ‘welcome’ is important to Chinese tourists, so a friendly attitude
and a warm welcome is important.
Bed and Breakfast accommodation may come as a shock for most first
time Chinese travellers, as B&B’s do not exist in China.
Most Chinese tourists will not be afraid to voice their complaints to their
Chinese tour guides if service levels and accommodation expectations
are not met or they do not perceive ‘value for money.’
10) Reaching Chinese Consumers
Deciding, planning & booking patterns
Decision making / destination progression
Recent qualitative research found that key sources of information when
planning international travel are word of mouth, the Internet (used at the
active search phase with “CTRIP” being one of the most successful
online travel companies) and TV (NTO advertising, travel programmes,
general programming, e.g. Korean soap operas).
Chinese consumers are bombarded with messages about travel from
print newspapers (with enormous travel sections), outdoor media (e.g.
moving LCD posters, subway / elevator ads) and ads in the windows of
Travel exposure also acts as a springboard to other destinations:
“I saw an Egyptian display in a museum in France – I’d like to go
Research suggests that there is a leisure travel progression through
destinations (from domestic, through Hong Kong / Macau to Short Haul,
Mid Haul, Long Haul) – largely linked to cost, distance and crucially
perceived accessibility. It is no co-incidence that the USA and non-
Schengen destinations (like the UK) appear at the very end of the
progression. We know from discussion on visas that the more successful
applications you have had will influence future consideration – and this
perpetuates the need to achieve “easier” visas first.
Group tours / reliance on travel trade
Chinese consumers are required to book through a licensed agent for
ADS leisure travel. Agents are the key to the ADS visa issuance process.
Government delegations and technical visits are not required to book
through a CNTA approved agent.
Most Chinese tourists book their holiday through an agent and travel by
tour groups, especially when travelling to Europe for the first time. Prior
to ADS, only those who are travelling to Britain for study, business and
VFR purposes (with a letter of invitation) could apply for a visa
individually. ADS group visas must be bought via a travel agent.
Group tours and agents are popular with travellers because they make
travel stress free and convenient and offer some element of cocooning
for new and difficult destinations (especially with language barriers).
Recent qualitative research (September 2005) suggests that consumers
like to book through larger, better known operators (“famous ones”) as
they are considered more reliable.
Indications are that the Chinese nationals who have more travel
experience and no language barrier would prefer to travel by themselves
after booking accommodation and air tickets. The number of bookings
online for domestic travel is increasing, but not so much for international
travel as yet. Chinese consumers require information in the Chinese
language (simplified version)
Travel Trade Knowledge of Britain
Chinese travel trade knowledge on Britain is limited. UK packages sold
in China are either London/Britain being a part (1-2 days) of a multi
European destination tour or a weeklong Britain tour visiting landmark
attractions (very often only photo stops outside). The experience in
Britain usually is just a characterless combination of photo stops and
shopping – unimaginative and standardised. Tourists are unable to
appreciate Britain fully.
However there are indications that consumers themselves perpetuate
the situation by wanting to see as much as possible in as short amount of
time as possible. In recent focus groups, although they expressed an
interest in relaxing and savouring cultural experiences, when asked to
design ideal itineraries these were invariably exhausting!
“A trip to Britain will be rushed and tiring but valuable”.
In recent qualitative research with Chinese UK-ADS accredited agents,
we found that they see Britain as somewhat different from continental
Europe – which on one hand is positive in that it is a differentiator, on
the other it relegates Britain as a second string choice for those wanting
to savour “the essence of Europe” in one trip.
As with consumers, the trade have a lack of general knowledge about
Britain and what knowledge there is – is somewhat dated (foggy
London, bowler-hatted gentlemen).
Britain also has some catching up to do with other European countries in
terms of the number of packages in which it features. Currently
Liechtenstein is included in more packages, and for every tour that
includes Britain, – four include France.
Consumers are price conscious and competitive pricing is a feature in
the market. Differences in available packages tend to be on price rather
than what the package includes. Some agents have started to launch
Travel information is becoming increasingly available through a variety of
media: the Internet, travel magazines, books and television programmes.
VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects research (2005) found that Chinese
prospects did the following at some point on a DAILY basis:
When we asked them to choose the most frequently accessed media
Read local newspaper 79%
Access national websites 76%
Watch local TV channels 72%
Watch national TV channels 71%
Watch cable / satellite channels 65%
Access international websites 65%
Read national newspaper 53%
Listen to national radio 46%
Listen to local radio 44%
from the list, the top 3 were: international and national websites, and
cable / satellite channels – indicating a very outward focussed
Access international websites 33%
Access national websites 26%
Watch cable / satellite channels 10%
Read national newspaper 9%
Watch local TV channels 9%
Watch national TV channels 7%
Read local newspaper 5%
VisitBritain hosts press trips each year, escorting selected journalists on
each trip. Hosting possibilities are available and if you are interested in
becoming involved, then please contact our Press and PR department.
VisitBritain also hosts many individual press visits over the course of the
year, aiding journalists from publications with over 100,000 circulation
and those that have definitive assignments.
10) Reaching Chinese Consumers continued
China Daily (English)
21st Century Business Herald (English)
The Economic Observer
China Business News
National Business Daily
Oriental Morning Post
Yangzi Evening News
Xinhua Daily Telegraph
International Business Daily
The Economic Observer
Beijing Youth Daily
Beijing Daily Messenger
Beijing Evening News
The Beijing News
Beijing Morning Post
Shanghai Morning Post (Shanghai)
Shanghai Times (Shanghai)
Oriental Morning Post (Shanghai)
Xinmin Evening News (Shanghai/also national)
Major Ladies’ Magazines
Major Men’s Magazines
The Outlook Magazine
Travel + Leisure
National Geographic Traveler
China Travel News
Travel Weekly China
With the fast growing media and Internet industry, information is more
widely available within China. The ETC estimate that 9.5% of Chinese
have Internet access (2005).
However, there are different figures from different surveys. According
to Internet World Stats (March 2005), there were 94 million (7.3% of the
population) Internet users in China and according to the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) there are 176 million (13% of the
population) Internet users.
It is estimated there will be at least 250 million Internet users in China by
the end of 2005.
According to VisitBritain research (2005), amongst ‘Online Best
Prospects’, international websites represent the most frequently used
media (33%), followed by national websites (26%).
The majority (90%) of these “Online Best Prospects” would consult the
Internet if planning a trip to Britain and 73% would consult a travel agent
/ tour operator.
Some popular travel related websites in China include:
tour.sina.com.cn / travel.sina.com
11) The Trade
Overview of trade structure
The Chinese government has a tight grip on its outbound market by
controlling the destinations in which its citizens visit through the ADS
policy on destination approval. The government also controls the
amount of money that is spent on travelling.
As a national tourist organisation, the State Council regulates the China
National Tourism Authority (CNTA). They are directly responsible for
promoting the Chinese tourism industry.
The Public Security Bureau (PBS) is in charge of monitoring and issuing
passports to Mainland Chinese nationals.
Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) supervises the distribution of
Travel retailers act as both tour operators and travel agencies for
domestic, inbound and outbound travel. The roles between wholesalers
and retailers in China are not clearly defined.
Before 2005, foreign owned travel agencies were allowed a controlling
stake in joint ventures with the government. However, from 2005,
agencies are allowed to be wholly owned by foreigners. These
companies need to have a worldwide turnover of US$40 million and will
not be able to conduct outbound business travel.
The large Chinese outbound operators conduct the most Chinese
outbound travel. For example, China International Travel Service (CITS),
China Travel Service (CTS) and China Youth Travel Service (CYTS).
Chinese Wholesales / Large Agents
Commission Level: 15-20%
Wholesale travel agents began to emerge in China in 2003. A few
authorised outbound international travel agents in Beijing, Shanghai and
Guangzhou take bookings from other domestic travel agents, in
particular those who operate outside of the traditional ADS regions, who
are not large enough to form their own groups.
This is referred to as a “CAN (pronounced as “chanc”) TUAN or merge
tours”. Although they do not operate in the traditional sense of a
wholesaler, these agents are referred to as Wholesale-Retail agents.
Chinese Retail Agents
Commission Level: 5-10%
As there are no independent retail outlets, all operators must handle the
full dynamics of the wholesaling and retailing role (acting as both tour
operator and travel agency), including creating products, promoting the
products and selling the products.
The Chinese travel trade is currently divided into two categories:
International travel agents and domestic travel agents:
• International travel agents can organise inbound travel and domestic
travel. Selected agencies can also organise outbound travel.
• Domestic travel agents can only organise travel within China.
There are 670 CNTA travel agents in China authorised to handle
outbound travel arrangements under ADS.
The British Embassy have confirmed there will be no more than 50
Chinese outbound tour operators across the country authorised to sell
ADS travel following their risk assessment process.
The table below is a list of the largest outbound agents.
Beijing Shanghai Guangdong
1. CTS Head Office * 1. Jin Jiang 1. GZL International
2. China Comfort 2. Hua Ting 2. CTS Guangdong *
3. CYTS * 3. CITS Guangdong *
4. Shantou Tourism
* CITS: China International Travel Services
* CTS: China Travel Service
* CYTS: China Youth Travel Service
Representatives can distribute brochures and undertake marketing on
your behalf. They have knowledge of the market and can offer advice on
how the product should be packaged and sold.
British Incoming Tour Operators
British Incoming Tour Operators must be approved by VisitBritain,
UKinbound or ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) to handle
ADS leisure business from approved Chinese agents. This requires a
declaration by an inbound operator to meet set criteria.
Reaching the Chinese Travel Trade
The best time to visit is March to early April and mid October to early
It is recommended you visit the market with an interpreter/guide if you
do not have strong Chinese language skills. The English language is less
common than in other Asian markets.
We recommend in the short term you concentrate your efforts on the
three main centres for potential traffic, these being Beijing, Shanghai
and Guangdong province.
Sales Calls – Top Tips
Plan early! Try and visit when VisitBritain is organising or participating in
a consumer or trade event, which would give you greater exposure than
you might otherwise receive. Make an appointment to see the local
VisitBritain office at the start of your visit. They will update you on the
current market situation and the potential of your travel product within
the local area.
When making appointments it is best to avoid Monday mornings and
Be sure to have a good supply of business cards and brochures with
you. Use both hands to present and receive business cards with the
writing always facing the recipient.
Never write on a business card or put it away without closely reading it
and never put in your back pocket. Instead place it on the table in front
of you and refer to it occasionally throughout the meeting.
It is recommended business cards are printed one side in English and
the reverse in Chinese (simplified characters).
The Chinese trade require information (print / web) in the Chinese
language (simplified version).
Bargaining is a way of life with the Chinese. Therefore even a small
discount would make your business transaction run smoothly.
Learn a few Chinese greetings. This would impress your Chinese
clients: Hello - Ni Hao / Thank You - Xie Xie / Bye - Zai Jian.
Avoid Public Holidays
The World Travel Fair (2006 Shanghai) will be held 31 Mar - 2 Apr 2006
12) Business Visits / Events
Business Visits Statistics & Trends
Business Visitors China Visits 2004 % Business Visits Spend 2004 % Business Spend
(000) % £m %
Trade Fair / Exhibition 1 3.1 0 1.3
Conference / Large Meeting 8 23.4 11 30.4
Other Business 26 73.5 24 68.3
Business Visitors China AEV AED ALS
£ £ Days
Trade Fair / Exhibition 405 132 3.1
Conference / Large Meeting 1,290 185 7.0
Other Business 920 58 15.8
In 2004, 38% of all visits from China to the UK were for business
purposes – and this accounted for 27% of all spend.
Chinese BUSINESS visits are 26% Conferences, Large meetings, Trade
Fairs or Exhibitions and 74% individual business travel.
It is impossible to estimate from IPS the proportion of Business travel
that is Incentive travel.
13) VisitBritain in China
Working in Partnership with VisitBritain
There are many ways of working in partnership with VisitBritain in any of
our 37 global markets. We deliver numerous marketing campaigns and
produce various targeted guides and publications which are seen by
millions of potential visitors throughout the world - offering excellent
advertising and partnership opportunities.
We undertake both print and online advertising, and produce
e-newsletters communicating with both consumers (via our substantial
databases) and our trade partners on-territory whilst the exhibitions,
workshops, sales missions and media events we organise provide the
perfect platform to promote your product firsthand to trade, press and
In some markets where the travel trade remains a crucial element of the
booking process we produce Agents’ Sales Guides and offer Agents’ online
training programmes to ensure both the destination and range of
British tourism product is at the forefront of the travel agent's mind.
For more details on these and other diverse opportunities in markets of
interest to you, please visit our UK Industry Website and read our
worldwide marketing prospectus, or contact your VisitBritain
representative in London or overseas.
VisitBritain – Beijing Representative
Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy
4/F Landmark Building Tower 1
8 North Dongsanhuan Road
Tel: (8610) 6590 6903, Ext 209
Fax: (8610) 6590 0977
VisitBritain – Shanghai Representative
British Consulate General Shanghai
1st Floor Pidemco Tower
318 Fu Zhou Lu
Tel: (8621) 6391 2626, Ext 275
Fax: (8621) 6391 2121
London Contacts / Further information
For any further information relating to the Chinese market, please
contact the London-based International Markets Team
Alternatively, visit VisitBritain’s dedicated website for the UK tourism
Why not sign up to our Industry E-Newsletter, or register with
VisitBritain to be kept up to date with all that’s new in China and
other markets worldwide?
Information Sources used to compile this report
• International Passenger Survey figures (IPS) 2004 (Office for National
NB: Data from International Passenger Survey has been made available
by the Office for National Statistics and has been used by permission.
The ONS do not bear any reponsibililty for the analysis or interpretation
of the data reported here.
• Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index – Waves 2 & 3 2005 (Quantitative)
• VisitBritain / BAA China Research – 2005 (Qualitative)
• VisitBritain Emerging Markets Online Best Prospects Research – 2005
• VB Foresight
• Public Diplomacy Brand Tracking Research – 2003 (Quantitative)
• Project Lion – VB Brand Development Research – 2002 (Qualitative)
• IMF / Economist / US Census Bureau
• Global Tourism Navigator
• ETC (European Travel Commission) and ETC New Media Review
• VisitBritain China Business Plans, Insights and Intelligence
Some useful websites:
Printed in England
Published by VisitBritain, Thames Tower, Blacks Road, London W6 9EL
in partnership with England’s tourism industry.
Telephone 020 8846 9000
© British Tourist Authority (trading as VisitBritain) 2006
Conceived by Britain International Market Research, International
Partnerships and Industry Relations
Photography supplied by britainonview.com
Copyright in all images and text is the property of the respective copyright
holders. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.
Important note: The information contained in this publication has been
published in good faith on the basis of information submitted to
VisitBritain and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.
However, where appropriate, you are strongly recommended to check
prices, opening times, dates, etc before making final arrangements.
All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or damage caused by
reliance on the information contained in this publication is hereby
excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.
The opinions expressed by contributors to this publication are not
necessarily those of VisitBritain.