CEO of VisitBritain launches initiative with major tourism event as part of Prime Minister’s China tour.
Birmingham Airport has announced a new partnership with a Chinese travel specialist, in a bid to attract more Chinese visitors to the region.
The partnership with Caissa forms part of the wider ‘China Welcome Campaign’ being launched by VisitBritain, the national tourism body, which aims to make the UK the most welcoming destination in the world for Chinese visitors.
The founding partners of the campaign include some of the UK’s leading tourism and consumer brands such as Hilton, EasyJet, Harrods and John Lewis. Birmingham, Manchester and London are the only destinations to have signed up to become founding partners of the new agreement.
From this partnership, Caissa will be working together with the Airport in promoting Birmingham as a gateway to the United Kingdom for Chinese tourism. The agreement will see the Airport and Caissa work together to deliver a tourism programme inbound to the UK from China in 2014.
The partnership will build awareness of Britain as a tourism destination for Chinese visitors, working with VisitBritain and others to develop existing and new UK tourism packages that stimulate demand from the Chinese market and increase holiday sales from China to the UK through the Caissa official website (www.caissa.cn) and Birmingham Airport.
This could include joint marketing and PR campaigns with national and regional tourism partners, product training for Caissa sales agents and improved customer service for Chinese visitors into and departing from Birmingham Airport with an emphasis on VAT refund facilities, Chinese signage and staff with specialist language skills. The partnership is supported by Marketing Birmingham, who will work with the Airport to ensure an integrated approach to the area’s marketing in China.
As part of the partnership with Caissa, Birmingham is committing to provide a world-leading welcome to Chinese visitors. Practically this will include working with VisitBritain and regional tourist partners on campaigns to promote the area and wider UK, to target Chinese audiences; further development of the China-specific area of leisure tourism website visitbirmingham.com; the provision of translated visitor information and clear measurement of the impact of such improvements to the UK’s welcome for Chinese visitors.
China is currently one of the fastest growing visitor source markets for the UK tourism industry at a rate of 20% year-on-year over the past few years. The size of the market has tripled over the past decade, and it is forecast to continue to grow strongly for the remainder of the decade. The Chinese visitor market is worth over £1 million to the West Midlands economy with Birmingham now the 4th most popular destination for Chinese visitors in England.
Paul Kehoe, CEO, Birmingham Airport, said: “Birmingham Airport is delighted to announce that through this partnership with Caissa, we will be working together in establishing Birmingham Airport as a gateway to the UK for Chinese tourism.
“We are also proud to be part of the partnership which will strengthen ties between the UK and China. With the UK’s leading tourism and consumer brands already on board this will enable the UK and the Midlands region to showcase its rich heritage and world class tourist attractions.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham’s profile as a visitor and business destination is growing at a global level, but we must ensure we do our homework and continue to follow through on our promise of a first class destination. Birmingham’s adoption of the Caissa and Birmingham Airport partnership proves to this market that we value their interest and their custom.
Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham, added: “We welcome the partnership and will be upping our marketing activity in China to help attract more visitors to the region and working to ensure they receive a warm welcome when they get here. From improving our transport connections to producing tourist materials in both Mandarin and Cantonese, we are keen to ensure our Chinese visitors feel well catered for.
“China is a hugely important market for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands and we are determined to make it a first choice for Chinese visitors looking to enter the UK. We support the Airport’s partnership with Caissa and hope that it will help us build the area’s profile with the growing Chinese tourist market.”