Solihull recognised as ‘China-ready’ at tourism awards

Beijing recognition for town’s tourist industry.

Solihull’s hotels, travel and tourism businesses have been recognised for their “world class” service quality for Chinese visitors, with a silver China Tourist Welcome award at the recent China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market awards held in Beijing.

The award, given to the Solihull Tourism Forum by the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, is recognised inside and outside China as the most important quality sign for the international Chinese outbound market, with wide coverage in Chinese media.

Led by Solihull Tourism Forum and linking into VisitBritain’s GREAT China Welcome programme, fourteen representatives from local organisations took part in a training programme that prepared the area for adapting their services to meet Chinese visitor standards, understanding their motivations and expectations when they travel and tips for providing a high quality experience.

Working in partnership with Birmingham Airport, the Tourism Forum also supported the launch of scheduled direct flights from Beijing to the region, providing the ideal opportunity to draw in more travellers from China and to put the area on the international visitor map. Those that had undertook the training hosted a tourist information display to greet passengers arriving at the airport, providing them with details about the local area and giving them a first class welcome.

Chinese visitors are already some of the UK’s highest spenders, spending on average £2,688 a head, and VisitBritain has ambitions to double spend from Chinese visitors to £1 billion by 2020.

Chair of Solihull Tourism Forum, Sally Bowen said: “We are delighted to receive this award in recognition of the work we have achieved as a Forum. To win alongside Visit Britain and Manchester City Football Club, is a great accolade for the borough and demonstrates our success in collaborating as a group.

“Solihull’s tourism and leisure sector is incredibly important to the area – in 2015 it contributed over £965 million to the local economy and supported over 10,000 jobs.

“With visitor numbers increasing year on year, it is important that we, as a Forum, work together to ensure that we maximise opportunities for visitor spend and promote the Borough as a fantastic place to shop, dine and stay.”

Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive at Birmingham Airport commented: “I would like to extend our congratulations to all involved with the Solihull Tourism Forum on this award. The work and collaboration of this forum is testament to its own success, with a group of leading names showcasing the borough. For the past two years here at Birmingham Airport we have welcomed a series of summer charter flights with over 8,000 visitors from China. To be part of the Solihull Tourism Forum and to work with these other great brands has ensured that these visitors have received a fantastic welcome.”