A delegation of British tourism businesses is set to visit Shanghai in China this week in a bid to create more business for the UK following the London 2012 Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.
VisitBritain said that the trade mission aimed to create a tourism legacy by meeting with leading Chinese travel agents in a series of one-on-one appointments and seminars.
A total of 40 British organisations will take part in China Mission 2012, this will be the largest ever delegation of tourism businesses.
The group includes national and regional tourism boards, city and tourist attraction promotion organisations, travel agencies, hotel groups, major retail groups and specialist tour operators.
China mission leader and VisitBritain's Director of Overseas, Keith Beecham said: "The UK tourism opportunities from China are vast, numerous and there to be developed further, especially in this crucial post-London 2012 period.
"Such was the demand from the industry that our mission could have been booked more than three times over. Everyone now recognises that China is a hugely important market for tourism and these business trips will help us achieve our target of welcoming 382,000 Chinese visitors by 2020."
To help improve an understanding of the UK's visa system for Chinese visitors, VisitBritain has also announced that it would be adding a visa training module to their BritAgent programme. Travel agents play a vital role in China, with 80% of bookings made through conventional travel agents.
Earlier this month, VisitBritain launched the next phase of its ‘GREAT' campaign to capitalise on the increased interest in Britain from China. This includes a seven month run of print advertising in National Geographic, advertorials in Time Out and on Yahoo!, and a partnership with British Airways to encourage Chinese to come to Britain for their Christmas shopping and the January sales.
By Neil Gerrard
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