British Tourism Agency Promoting “Fairytale” Holidays: Chinese A Prime Target

50 Million Pound (US$79 Million) Marketing Campaign To Launch Next Year

Chinese tourists in the UK are making up for fewer visitors from North America and the Middle East

Chinese tourists in the UK are making up for fewer visitors from North America and the Middle East

Recently, VisitBritain — the British national tourism agency — said it expected Chinese tourist arrivals in Great Britain to rise 89% over the next four years, as more upper-middle-class and middle-class travelers are lured by looser visa restrictions and high-end shopping. This gradual shift marks a departure from the elite-driven tourism seen in Britain over the past several years, led by ultra-wealthy business travelers and families visiting their British-educated children.

While attracting more middle-class Chinese tourists is obviously seen as a good thing for the British tourism industry — and for the high street — next year, VisitBritain will again focus on pulling in more high-net-worth individuals from China and elsewhere, as it recently announced a worldwide, 50 million pound (US$79 million) marketing campaign aimed squarely at the estimated 10 million individuals worth more than $1 million.

While not explicitly geared towards Chinese tourists, VisitBritain’s new campaign — which promotes experience-based “fairytale” holidays — most certainly has them in mind. Earlier this year, the Hurun Report found there are now at least 875,000 Chinese worth 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million), and 40% of surveyed Chinese millionaires planned to travel abroad in 2010.

From Shanghai Daily:

VisitBritain said it had identified a fashion among the rich for dreamlike or fairytale holidays, and it will draw on the country’s rich history, “showing a magical side of Britain which has a powerful sense of playfulness and fantasy”.

Such a holiday could include a stay in a stately home, with a floor-to-ceiling butterfly house.

Also on offer are “seamless” holidays for those who don’t want friction, and could include living as a laird in a Scottish castle, blending your own bottle of malt whisky, playing golf on prestigious courses and being measured for a kilt.

VisitBritain has said that the agency plans to set aside 50 million pounds for next year’s worldwide advertising campaign, with a further 50 million pounds sought from the private sector. The actual packages it plans to offer high-net-worth travelers will be divided into three tiers — Gold, Platinum and Black — with the Gold package designed for those seeking “bling luxury,” Platinum for those a little less overt, and Black for those looking for understated — but still substantial — travel.

As we’ve seen in China over the past few years, British culture holds a particular allure among wealthy Chinese, many of whom have taken to golf, begun sipping rare scotch, and even buying up real estate in London. Now we’ll just have to see if the $158 million price tag of VisitBritain’s marketing blitz ultimately pays off and attracts more of these lucrative tourists.


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