Efforts to make hotels and restaurants more welcome to Chinese visitors were given a boost today with the launch of a new charter mark.
The GREAT China Welcome mark will help Chinese visitors to easily find hotels, attractions and tour operators which offer information in mandarin and other tailored services.
VisitBritain, which devised the scheme, hopes the mark will encourage more businesses invest in making their products more suitable for the Chinese market.
Some 100 companies have so far signed the charter, which is free and open to any UK business which meets the necessary criteria.
Hotels now displaying the mark include the Abbey hotel Bath; Stoke Park, Stoke Poges and Churchill hotel, York. The Churchill is marketing itself to the Chinese traveller in Mandarin, translating hotel and local information into Mandarin and has put together a welcome pack for Chinese visitor which includes favourite teas and snack noodles.
John Wallace, general manager on the Churchill, said, "We pride ourselves on providing very high standards of service to all our customers and the Chinese are no exception. We are experiencing strong interest from the Chinese who seem to particularly enjoy our blend of contemporary style and comfort wrapped up in an historic building just a short walk from York's attractions."
The charter mark was unveiled at Blenheim Palace by Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill and Xiang Xiaowei, cultural minister counsellor, to an audience of Chinese travel trade and media.
Dawe said that with record number of Chinese visitors are already coming to Britain, VisitBritain wants to ensure that the UK continues to compete in the world's biggest outbound market.
"Improving our welcome is key to continuing this growth. The GREAT China Welcome charter will help differentiate Britain from its European neighbours and work towards our target of welcoming 650,000 Chinese visits a year by 2020 - worth nearly £1.1b annually to the UK economy," she explained.
Xiaowei added: "We appreciate Britain's commitment to welcoming Chinese visitors to enjoy this great country."