VisitScotland has launched a new app targeting millions of Chinese social media users in a major push to promote Scotland as a key destination for travellers. The mini-app is housed under VisitScotland’s account Travel Scotland on Chinese social media platform WeChat, which has one billion month active users.
The launch forms part of a larger focus on China – now a priority market for VisitScotland – which has an estimated international tourism expenditure of $257.7 billion.
Since 2011, visitor numbers from China to Scotland have grown by 316%, with VisitBritain predicting that Chinese visitor numbers across the whole of the UK will rise by almost half over the next five years.
The mini-app divides Scotland into four regions and allows users to browse an initial 200 Scottish businesses which have tailored their products to engage with the Chinese visitor market, for example by having Mandarin translations or Mandarin speaking staff.
Engagement with the Chinese market was ramped up in 2018 with the introduction of the first ever direct flight from China to Scotland, the launch of social media channels in China by VisitScotland, and the largest ever contingent of Chinese buyers attending VisitScotland Expo.
VisitScotland also hosted its biggest Chinese travel trade mission to date in November last year. 16 organisations joined a business development mission in Guangzhou, Beijing and Xi’An, which gave Scottish suppliers the opportunity to engage with Chinese buyers face-to-face and help them shape future products for the Chinese market.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said, “We have recognised for some time the tourism potential of China and it is now considered a priority market by VisitScotland. Scotland currently accounts for almost a fifth of all Chinese visitors to the UK and with enhanced air connectivity there is a real opportunity to grow that market further.
“The mini-app will give visitors practical information at their fingertips on the many tourism businesses in Scotland who are catering for the Chinese market, making it even easier for them to plan their first or even next visit to our shores.
“It further complements the ongoing work we are doing in building relationships between our Scottish partners and Chinese tour operators to support the creation of more products to suit this important market.”