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Buckingham Palace top attraction for tourists from China

By BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-08-14 11:38

People watch Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace the day after Britain's election in London, Britain June 9, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

The royal family, the Harry Potter studio, and Premier League soccer matches top Chinese tourists' to-do lists in Britain, according to a new report.

More than 250,000 holidaymakers from China spent more than half a billion pounds in the United Kingdom last year, and that figure is expected to rise as disposable income and the ranks of the Chinese middle class continue to grow, rising to 500,000 by 2026, compared to barely 500 in 1996.

VisitBritain, the UK's official tourism body, said in its report that Chinese tourists rate Britain for its heritage and contemporary culture.

Buckingham Palace tops the list of must-see attractions, followed by Chatsworth House and Edinburgh Castle.

Attractions that offer a bird's eye view of London are also popular, with the Shard and London Eye on many people's bucket lists.

"They are mostly interested in symbolic elements: the royal family, Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, and Downton Abbey," the report said.

But few are interested in the UK's traditional food. According to VistBritain, fewer than one in 10 said they would have fish and chips at the seaside.

It noted that Chinese holidaymakers "might appreciate wine, whisky and other Western spirits, cheese and dairy products, dessert etc. However, many Chinese tourists will recourse to familiar Chinese food once in a while, if not often".

London was the most popular destination among travelers from China, with an annual average of 144,000 visitors between 2004 and 2016, compared to 35,000 in Edinburgh. Other hotspots were Manchester, Cambridge, and Oxford.

Chinese visitors also revealed that 73 percent would be"extremely" likely to recommend Britain, and 43 percent felt"very welcome" in the country.

The report included some advice for those in the travel sector wanting to attract more Chinese guests. It said businesses should avoid being overfamiliar with them.

"Kissing and hugging are not a common form of greeting with the Chinese," it said. "Many of them would feel embarrassed."


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