British landmarks to be renamed in Chinese as part of tourism drive
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British landmarks to be renamed in Chinese as part of tourism drive

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British landmarks Giant’s Causeway, Hadrian’s Wall and Kensington Palace are among 101 points of interest to be given Chinese names as VisitBritain continues its concerted campaign to court tourists from the Asian superpower.

Following on from this year’s GREAT China Welcome campaign and policy initiatives to make it easier for Chinese tourists to gain UK visa, the new ‘GREAT names for GREAT Britain’ campaign will invite potential visitors to think up names for UK landmarks via Chinese social media platforms (Weibo/WeChat).

In China, it is popular to give names to favourite celebrities, places and foods that give a literal description of what Chinese people think about these things. For example, British actor and Sherlock Holmes star, Benedict Cumberbatch, has been affectionately named ‘Curly Fu’, while The Beatles are known as ‘Pi Tou Shi’ – meaning ‘Gentlemen with long hair.’

This £1.6m campaign will see the 101 British landmarks up for renaming to be released in groups over the next 10 weeks. The first batch covers points of interest with a royal connection, including Kensington Palace and The Mall.

“Our ambition is to get the whole of China talking about Britain,” said VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe. “This campaign will not only increase awareness of the experiences that Britain has to offer, but help encourage these valued Chinese guests to explore our nations and regions.”

VisitBritain will partner with UK Visas & Immigration and Home Office on the campaign. Through print, advertising and online activity, UKVI will provide helpful information on the ease of applying for a visa, and the range of services available for Chinese customers, including the UK’s unique super priority visa, where customers can receive their visa within 24 hours.

Efforts to capitalise on the lucrative Chinese tourism market appear to be gaining traction, with new research showing aspirational travel from China to the UK is on the up. The 2014 Anhold Gfk Nations Brand Index (NBI) study, showed China ranked Britain in second place out of 50 nations for tourism, one place higher than 2013 – when it lay behind the USA and Germany. And in a study of aspirational places to visit, if money was no object, the Chinese rated Britain fourth, a jump of five places in a year.

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British landmarks Giant’s Causeway, Hadrian’s Wall and Kensington Palace are among 101 points of interest to be given Chinese names as VisitBritain continues its concerted campaign to court tourists from the Asian superpower.
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