A new app targeting millions of Chinese social media users has been launched by VisitScotland on Chinese New Year (5 February 2019), in a major push to promote Scotland as a key destination for travellers.
The mini-app is housed under VisitScotland’s account, 旅行Scotland (Travel Scotland), on Chinese social media platform WeChat, which has one billion monthly active users (MAU).
It forms part of a larger focus on China, now a priority market by the national tourism organisation, which has an estimated international tourism expenditure of $257.7 billion.
Since 2011, there has been a 316% increase* in visitor numbers from China to Scotland with VisitBritain – the tourism body for the UK – predicting Chinese visitor numbers across the whole of the UK will rise by almost half over the next five years.
The mini app divides Scotland into four regions and allows users to browse an initial 200 Scottish businesses – activities, attractions, food and drink, and shopping – which have tailored their products to engage with the Chinese visitor market, for example, by having mandarin translations or mandarin speaking staff. The app will allow for additional businesses to be added.
Last year saw increased engagement with the Chinese market in Scotland including the first ever direct flight from China to Scotland, the largest contingent of Chinese buyers attending Scotland’s premier B2B travel trade event VisitScotland Expo, and the launch of social media channels in China by VisitScotland.
VisitScotland hosted its biggest Chinese travel trade mission to date in November last year. Sixteen businesses joined the national tourism body on the business development mission in Guangzhou, Beijing and Xi’An. The Chinese business development mission gave Scottish suppliers the opportunity to engage with Chinese buyers face-to-face to help them to shape future products for the Chinese market.
Last week, VisitScotland was recognised in the Hurun UK-China Awards 2019 as “Outstanding Contributor to UK-China Relations, for Services to Inbound Tourism”.