Business leaders are hopeful a recent 12-day mission to China could help to continue the growth of visits from Chinese visitors to the Lake District.
Representing the English Lake District China Forum, Windermere Lake Cruises were among a delegation of some of Europe’s most successful tourism businesses to fly out to China in November, for the closing ceremony of the EU-China Tourism Year.
Following a meeting in 2016 between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, 2018 was declared as one of close cooperation between China and the EU, with a particular focus on increasing the number of Chinese visitors to European destinations during traditionally quieter time of year.
The year-long initiative started with an opening ceremony hosted by Venice in January, at which Windermere Lake Cruises secured sales of more than 10,000 tickets to one Chinese operator alone. The success follows a 286% growth in groups business for Windermere Lake Cruises after direct flights from Beijing to Manchester launched in 2016.
More recent events attended by Windermere Lake Cruises included a B2B matchmaking event in Shanghai with more than 75 Chinese tour operators, and a series of networking events with Chinese buyers held in Xi’An followed by a spectacular closing ceremony.
Along with English Lakes Hotels, Windermere Lake Cruises used the recent trip as an opportunity to represent all 19 local businesses that sit on the English Lake District China Forum in a number of visits to operators’ offices for further networking and showcasing of the Lake District.
The two businesses also attended VisitBritain’s Destination Britain China and North East Asia in Sanya, becoming the only UK businesses to attend all three events.
Sales & Marketing Director at Windermere Lake Cruises Jennifer Cormack said, “It was a fantastic opportunity to enhance the cultural understanding between China and the UK, and we felt extremely privileged to be at the closing ceremony. Myself and Colin of English Lakes Hotels were the only team from the UK to take full advantage of this trip by maximising all three opportunities that were made available to us in addition to office visits that we had personally arranged.
“During our 12-day visit to the three different cities, Colin and I had more than 200 separate meetings with representatives from Chinese tourism companies during business-to-business ‘matchmaking’ events. We’re confident our efforts will help to continue our success and drive our appeal to overseas markets even further forward in the coming years.”