As new research paper has revealed aspirations to visit Britain in China are stronger than ever before.
The news comes as VisitBritain holds its biggest Destination China tourism mission to date in Guangzhou and Hong Kong this week.
In the 2014 Anholt GfK Nations Brand Index study, China ranked Britain second out of fifty nations for ‘Tourism’ - its highest ranking to date for this attribute and one place higher than in 2013.
This year China also upped its ranking of Britain as an aspirational place to visit ‘if money was no object’ by five places to fourth.
Marked uplifts are rare among perception rankings which are based on strongly held beliefs that take a long time to shift.
This striking improvement corresponds with the growing numbers of Chinese travellers to Britain: last year there were ten per cent more visits and 64 per cent more tourist spending from China.
VisitBritain’s Destination China mission will take place in Guangzhou and Hong Kong until November 28th.
It will be the national tourism agency’s biggest, widest-ranging China mission to date, giving a record 48 UK tourism suppliers the opportunity to build relationships with over 90 Chinese travel buyers from 15 cities across China.
Over 5,800 key business appointments will be conducted between influential Chinese buyers and UK suppliers during the event, alongside networking events and seminars to boost destination knowledge.
A third of the UK suppliers will be attending for the first time and all suppliers are members of VisitBritain’s GREAT China Welcome charter, launched in March this year to make Britain the most welcome destination in Europe for Chinese visitors.
The charter was created to signpost British hospitality businesses that offer exceptional service to Chinese visitors by providing tailored information, amenities and facilities.
This year China has increased its NBI ranking for Britain as a nation where ‘the people would make me feel very welcome’ by one place, contributing to an overall ‘People’ ranking of fourth out of fifty nations.
At the Destination China mission VisitBritain will also launch its brand new 250-page GREAT China Welcome charter member directory, which lists by sector the first 200+ businesses that have joined the programme, including hotels, attractions, retailers and tour operators.
Joss Croft, marketing director at VisitBritain, commented: “Chinese perceptions of Britain are better than ever and the demand for travel is clearly there, but we must continually develop our offer to remain ahead of the competition.
“South China is a key region for outbound tourism and this mission will build valuable and new connections with the travel trade.
“With our GREAT China Welcome member directory and our biggest campaign ever launching in China this December, these are exciting times for Chinese tourism to Britain.”