For the last ten weeks, famous places, tourist attractions and locations nationwide have been waiting with bated breath for the results of Britain’s largest ever tourism campaign in China. Ahead of Chinese New Year, VisitBritain has today released all 101 new names - along with other popular suggestions - provided by the Chinese public, for some of the most famous points of interest across Britain.
China is now the world’s largest outbound market, with visitors to Britain already spending £500 million annually. VisitBritain has ambitious plans to double the value of that market by 2020 and to ensure this growth is spread across the nations and regions. VisitBritain's £1.6m ‘GREAT names for GREAT Britain’ campaign taps into the existing trend amongst the Chinese to give literal names to favourite celebrities, places and foods.
Since its launch, the campaign has reached nearly 300 million potential Chinese tourists via the national tourism agency’s influential Weibo and WeChat social media platforms in China. Over 2 million people visited the campaign pages and nearly 30 million Chinese watched the launch video, with 13,000 new names suggested throughout the ten weeks.
One die-hard Beatles fan even travelled to Britain in an attempt to be the first to name famous landmarks associated with the band – watch how he got on in our new short campaign video.
Here are some naming highlights:
• The Shard - Zhai Xing Ta () - A tower allowing us to pluck stars from the sky or London cone
• Savile Row - Gao Fu Shuai Zhi Lu (-) - Tall, rich, handsome street (refers to popular "meme" in China to describe the perfect man) or Custom made rich people street
• Blackpool – Le You Yuan – ()- A place that is happy to visit
• Llanfair-pwllgwyn-gyllgo-gery-chwyrn-drobwll-llanty-silio-gogo-goch – Jian Fei Cun ()- Healthy-lungvillage
• Loch Ness Monster - Ni Si Hu An Ying - () - The Loch Ness shadow
• The Kelpies - Kai Po Ju Ma () - Glorious armoured giant horses (homophonic with Kelpies)
• Cerne Abbas Giant - Bai Se Da Luo Ben () - Big white streaker
• Hadrian’s Wall - Yong Heng Zhi Ji (-) - Wall of eternity
• Brighton Pavilion - Qiao Zhi He Yue Han De Yin Du Gong () - George and John’s Indian palace
• Stoke-on-Trent - Wan Bo Tao Ci () - Diverse ceramics
All 101 points of interest have now been given their three most popular Chinese names. Over the coming weeks, VisitBritain will be working together with all of these attractions to decide how they might use these results and tap into the publicity generated by the campaign.
Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive at VisitBritain said: “Chinese visitors already stay longer in Britain than in our European competitor destinations and are high spenders – every 22 additional Chinese visitors we attract supports an additional job in tourism. We want to ensure that we continue to compete effectively in this, the world’s biggest outbound market and ensure that we deliver growth and jobs across the nations and regions of Britain.
“Digital engagement is one of our strengths and this campaign has been hugely effective at driving this with our potential Chinese visitors. We’re working closely with the industry and hope to see some of Britain’s most popular points of interest use these new Chinese names on their social media channels and websites to amplify that engagement.”
Minister for Sport Helen Grant said: "Overseas visitors are coming to Britain in record numbers and spending more money than ever before. But we are working hard to encourage more visitors from key markets such as China to come and experience the best of Britain. The response to this campaign in China has been fantastic, championing some of our best attractions across the country."
Marino Zanti, General Manager, The Needles commented: “As the most visited landmark and attraction on the Isle of Wight, we’re thrilled to have been featured in this high profile campaign. We’ve seen the Chinese market grow dramatically over the past two years and we hope to welcome many more Chinese visitors to the Needles in coming seasons. ‘Poseidon’s Trident’ is a fitting alternative name for the Needles rocks as an association with the ‘God of the Sea’ befits a national coastal landmark of our stature.”
Jude Leitch, general manager at Northumberland Tourism said: “We are delighted that Hadrian’s Wall was chosen to feature in VisitBritain’s ‘GREAT Chinese name’ campaign. The 73 miles of Hadrian’s Wall is a World Heritage Site that stretches from one side of England to the other, and the name chosen, ‘Wall of Eternity’ perfectly describes its importance to Britain’s history, and how its story is key to ensuring that future generations understand our often turbulent past. As they can also proudly boast a world-famous wall, we hope Chinese visitors will be inspired to visit and explore Hadrian’s Wall country to experience the mystic beauty of the Eternal Wall for themselves. We look forward to welcoming them when they do.”
Liz Page, Historic Properties Director for English Heritage in the North, said: “We are delighted to have a Chinese name for Hadrian’s Wall and hope it will encourage more people to explore and enjoy the wall’s 73 miles of Roman forts, museums and stunning landscape. The story of Hadrian’s Wall stretches back over thousands of years, and its new Chinese name – translated as ‘wall of eternity’ – is a beautiful description which does justice to one of England’s most important historic landmarks.”
Cllr Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said: “Blackpool is known as a town that has a really positive and fun atmosphere so ‘Shen Chi Jia Nian Hua’, or ‘Deep Pool Carnival’, is a very suitable description.
“We have growing cultural links with China having had our famous Comedy Carpet seafront artwork exhibited at the Shanghai Power Station of Art and we know Chinese visitors just love The Blackpool Tower and the famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom, the home of ballroom dancing. We hope the new name will really strike a chord and encourage our friends from China to come and visit us.”
Kelpie artist, Andy Scott said: “I am delighted that the Kelpies have reached out to a new audience and that they have been recognised with such an evocative and dynamic Mandarin name. It is a real accolade for me as the artist and the whole team involved in The Kelpies that they have been adopted for the VisitBritain campaign and been so well received in China. I hope the campaign brings even more visitors to our ‘glorious giants’ in Falkirk.”
Anglesey’s Principal Tourism and Marketing Officer, Iwan Huws, said: "It’s great news that Llanfairpwll - and Anglesey - have been included in such an exciting and prominent tourism campaign and clearly shows that our Island can compete on a world stage. Anglesey has so much to offer - its stunning landscapes and coastline; award winning beaches; and rich culture and heritage.
"The Chinese names suggested are certainly very different from the traditional Welsh meaning of Llanfairpwll, and I hope that they will help attract many more Chinese visitors to Anglesey in the months and years to come. We'll make sure they receive a warm Welsh welcome when they arrive!"
Only last week, VisitBritain announced that 2014 was a record year for both inbound visits and spend. Overseas visitors spent £21.7 billion in Britain last year, 3% and a new record. The number of inbound visits reached a record 34.8 million, up by nearly 2 million - 6% - on 2013.