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Breaking into China

Press Release   •   Nov 16, 2016 12:09 GMT

The Military Band of the People’s Liberation Army of China perform at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2015

Tourism businesses from throughout Scotland are in China this week as part of a VisitScotland business development mission to boost an emerging market already worth £34 million a year.

The ten Scottish companies include The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which has ambitious plans to take its spectacular military show to China in the near future, and Historic Environment Scotland, the owner of Edinburgh Castle which last year welcomed more than 160,000 Chinese visitors.

Representatives from other companies, including the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop – a hugely popular stop among Chinese coach parties – and Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), will have face-to-face meetings with a number of tour operators in Beijing and Shanghai tomorrow (Thursday 17 November) and on Friday.

Later on Friday, VisitScotland, the Scottish Government and Scottish Development International (SDI) are putting on a ‘Spirit of Scotland Showcase Evening’ in Beijing, giving tour operators, the travel trade, airlines and other partners the opportunity to network with key contacts and enjoy an evening of traditional Scottish food and entertainment.

Following VisitScotland’s mission, the national tourism organisation will join a number of its partners at Destination Britain China, a three-day tourism showcase organised by VisitBritain, before heading on to Seoul for Destination Britain South Korea.

The connectivity between China and Scotland has been enhanced in recent years by airlines such as Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines and Finnair, which link the two countries via Qatar, the UAE, Turkey and Finland respectively.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “VisitScotland supports industry in their aspirations to internationalise and to attract more business and income from global markets. China is a hugely important emerging market for Scottish tourism and this business development mission will allow tourism businesses to meet face to face with tour operators in Shanghai and Beijing. It will provide our partners with an excellent platform to showcase their products and we look forward to welcoming more Chinese visitors to Scotland as a result.”

David Leven, Greater China Director at Scottish Development International, said:“There is huge scope for trade and investment relationships between China and Scotland to continue to grow. As well as offering a unique visitor experience, Scotland – with five of the world’s top 200 ranked universities – provides educational excellence in a safe, clean and economical environment. There are many opportunities for Chinese businesses and consumers to enjoy and work with Scotland’s iconic products – from Scotch whisky to textiles, seafood to golf clubs, craft beer to shortbread – many of which will be showcased in Beijing.”

Susan Lawton, Head of Sales at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “We work incredibly hard to build connections with our audiences across the globe, encouraging partnerships and visits to our hometown of Edinburgh. This year we witnessed an extraordinary 600 per cent increase in Chinese visitors, making up around 2,000 members of our total audience. For us, this demonstrates the appetite the Chinese people have for the Tattoo and we’re excited about the prospect of bringing the world’s best known military event to this wonderful country in the future.”

Lindsay Robertson, Sales Executive at Historic Environment Scotland, which manages more than 300 Historic Scotland properties, said: “From Orkney to the Scottish Borders, together our 300 heritage attractions help tell more than 5,000 years of Scottish history. It’s this rich and diverse heritage that is a unique and important element within Scotland’s wider tourism offering, which continues to appeal to visitors at a global level.

“Currently Chinese visitors account for 5 per cent of total visits to our ticketed sites, with Scotland’s top visitor attraction Edinburgh Castle welcoming more than 160,000 Chinese visitors last year alone. This specialist trade event will provide a valuable opportunity to further develop and increase our trade business within this market, whilst raising awareness and product knowledge of Scotland’s heritage tourism offering.”

John Somers, First Secretary for Scottish Affairs, People’s Republic of China, said: “The Scottish Government’s China strategy was first conceived almost a decade ago. However our cultural exchange can be measured in millennia with many of Scotland’s cultural icons such as our tartan, our whisky, our bagpipes and our golf all having ancestral links to ancient China.

“Called by the pipes of the Tattoo to the enduring beauty of our rural landscape and the dynamic excitement of our cities, more and more Chinese visitors are making Scotland their destination of choice.”

 VisitScotland’s partners on its business development mission to China are:
• Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop – Dumfries & Galloway
• Historic Environment Scotland
• Wangping Travel – Edinburgh
• Go2Scotland – Edinburgh
• The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Edinburgh
• Edinburgh Tourism Action Group
• The National Trust for Scotland
• Royal Highland Hotel – Inverness
• Apex Hotels – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee
• Cruise Loch Lomond – Tarbet, Argyll
• House of Turin – Forfar, Angus

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

      2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 
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