Visit Belfast celebrates Chinese New Year by being ‘China Ready’
The Visit Belfast Welcome Centre scores an island-wide first to secure global China Ready status.
Visit Belfast has been recognised for being ‘China Ready’, another major accomplishment in the tourism agency’s efforts to maximise on the city’s growing popularity with Chinese tourists.
As Belfast and NI’s flagship visitor information centre, it also becomes the first on the island of Ireland to secure this market status.
Tourist trips from China to the UK and Ireland have doubled in a decade and the new China Ready accreditation, which helps identify global services that Chinese visitors can trust, means both the Belfast Welcome Centre and Visit Belfast’s sales and marketing teams understand this market’s special needs and are properly equipped to meet demand.
Being China Ready recognises the measures Visit Belfast has taken to cater for the increasing Chinese visitor market, a key growth market for the UK and Ireland.
Europe is a major global destination for Chinese tourists, with more than 10 million trips* made in 2016. Chinese visitors tend to stay longer, are also among the biggest tourist spenders.
The UK is already their top destination to visit in Europe and new direct flights to Dublin from the Asian economic powerhouse will see visitors to the island of Ireland rise further this year. Around 50,000 are expected to have visited the island of Ireland** in 2017 and up to 350,0000 trips to the UK*** are expected to be made this year.
Cllr Mairead O’Donnell Chair of the City Growth Committee congratulated Visit Belfast on their latest success:
“We want everyone in Belfast to benefit from a thriving and prosperous economy. Our strengthening relationship with China stands in helping us to achieve that aim.
“The Council is keen to build on the many China-ready initiatives we have delivered, including the signing of our formal Sister Cities Agreement with Shenyang last spring. Promoting Belfast as a welcoming travel destination is one such area that can deliver and reap rewards for the local economy.
“It’s great to see Visit Belfast become China-Ready, an Ireland first for a visitor information centre.”
Visit Belfast’s Director of Visitor Servicing, Mary Jo welcomed the recognition saying:
“As the World’s largest economy and most valuable outbound market, China now has an affluent generation seeking new world experiences and adventure. However, they also want reassurance the services they will receive will meet and exceed their expectations.
“China Ready status guarantees exactly that and I’m delighted that the team has been recognised for their efforts.
“It’s vital that we understand this market fully in order to provide the right services and visitor experiences – the training delivered by the Centre for Competitiveness and COTRI (Ireland) ensures that we are skilled to meet the growing visitor demand from China.”
To be ‘China Ready’ Visit Belfast needed to have a consistent and pre-determined level of world class training and quality accreditation so that Chinese people can know that they will receive the same quality service standard no matter where they are in the world.
The training programme equips organisations with cultural insights and understanding that are essential for successfully engagement with people from China.
Presenting the COTRI accreditation, Dr Tony Lenehan, Executive Director of the Centre for Competitiveness and COTRI (Ireland) said:
“The training provided vital insights into the China and enhancing cultural awareness that’s necessary to provide a market and customer focused service to the Chinese visitor. It also provides access to a networking partnership that offers exclusive benefits designed to promote Belfast in the Chinese marketplace
“Visit Belfast has committed to adapting their visitor services and sales activity in order to be China Ready, placing additional welcome signage in Mandarin, creating a designated Photo Opportunity area, as well initiating the translation of maps and promotional information for the China market and other services.”