Lake District tourism group lauded for Chinese welcome

A Cumbrian tourism group has won praise at a national awards ceremony for its positive and welcoming approach to attracting more visitors from China.

Representatives from the Lake District China Forum have been to VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence event as a shortlisted finalist for their creative promotional work in the Chinese tourism market.

The nomination for the ‘Great China Welcome of the year’ award was in recognition of the group’s outstanding performance in helping Chinese visitors easily identify hotels, attractions, retailers and tour operators.

The winner was announced by VisitEngland at the prestigious awards held at the Hilton Waldorf in London, with the Lake District China Forum pipped to the post for top spot by the overall category winner, Blenheim Palace. The forum has focused on a challenging marketing strategy to catapult the Lake District ahead of many other competitor destinations in a whirlwind two year promotional campaign.  Getting the message out to China and tourism agency offices in London and providing high quality online content have all been key elements of this work.

The group has also created partnerships with Marketing Manchester to support its recent China marketing campaign and roadshow work with Hainan Airlines, including their inaugural flight arrival into Manchester Airport, ensuring the Lake District has become known as one of the best areas to visit for inbound travellers flying directly into the northern city.

Visits to major Chinese cities to meet tour operators and media have been undertaken and two further promotional visits are planned this year. China Ready arranged training for all the member businesses, whilst the forum has also, importantly, employed a Chinese speaking marketing and social media expert.

“We were absolutely thrilled to attend the awards and to have received this national recognition for the work that we do within this market,” explains Jennifer Cormack from Windermere Lake Cruises, who is also the Chairman of the Lake District China Forum.  “Our aim is to continually build on our knowledge and awareness of how to provide the best possible service and experience to our Chinese visitors.

“To be shortlisted as a finalist from hundreds of contenders was great news for the area.  Blenheim Palace is a worthy winner, but we hope that our nomination alongside household names like this will help give the local tourism economy a healthy boost as we move into the busy summer months.”

Established in 2015 when Windermere Lake Cruises and English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues formulated plans to create the Lake District China Forum which currently has 10 members, including the Lake District National Park Authority, National Trust, World of Beatrix Potter, Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, Lakeland Arts Trust, Mountain Goat Tours, Forestry Commission, Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum.

“China is the fastest growing international market for us, so to have been in contention for this award is a real feather in the cap for the group and reflects all our hard work over the last two years,” adds the forum’s marketing director, Colin Fox, from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues.  “It’s been another chance to show how we are extending our reach even further into the Chinese market.”

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