A group of Lake District businesses has commissioned two Lancaster University students to research Chinese attitudes to overseas travel and tourism.
The results will be used by the newly formed China Forum to help develop plans to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit the Lake District.
The research will also play a key role in preparations for a trade visit to Beijing in November. The group will meet representatives from the Chinese travel trade and the local media, as part of an initiative by the UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain.
Colin Fox, from the Lake District China Forum and English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, says: “There is growing recognition of the importance of the Chinese market for the Lake District. We are seeing increasing numbers of Chinese visitors coming to the area and it is essential that we make sure the Lake District is high on the list of places for Chinese people to visit in Britain.”
English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues enlisted the help of Yan Li and Zhiling Lou, both of whom are studying MSc Management at Lancaster University Management School, to produce the report on Chinese tourism. Lancaster University Management School works closely with businesses to place suitable post-graduates on consultancy projects that deliver benefits to the company as well as providing invaluable experience to the students.
The students were taken on a trip by Mountain Goat to visit a number of Lake District tourism businesses this week as part of their research, including Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel, Blackwell Arts Centre, The World of Beatrix Potter, Dove Cottage, Brockholes, Hill Top, as well as taking a trip on Windermere Lake Cruises and visiting Hawkshead.
Their research will also include questionnaires, focus groups and telephone interviews, to explore what aspects of the Lake District would be of most interest to Chinese tourists and the types of activities that would be their most popular choices. They will also be investigating the most effective promotional tools to reach Chinese tourists and to market the Lake District more widely to Chinese audiences.
Chinese travellers are now the largest group of tourists in the world, and Britain is the fifth most popular destination for Chinese travelling abroad for tourism or business. Chinese visitors already outnumber Japanese tourists visiting the county, traditionally one of the region’s most important overseas markets.
“China is one of the main emerging markets providing a new generation of international tourists,” explains Colin Fox, the Group Marketing Manager at English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues.
“We are keen to understand how to attract more Chinese people to visit the Lake District and the activities that should be offered. We are particularly interested in how we can best target groups such as Chinese students in this country and their families, as well as Chinese travel businesses organising visits to the UK.
“The overall aim of the research is to create a blueprint for promoting the Lake District and Windermere in the Chinese market. We hope that Yan Li and Zhiling Lou will help us get a much better understanding of what motivates Chinese tourists. It’s a great opportunity to nurture and exploit a rapidly expanding tourism market.”
Lake District tourism businesses are looking to replicate the region’s success in attracting thousands of Japanese tourists every year.
Lancaster University Management School have worked with nearly 200 local companies in the last 24 months on a variety of projects in areas such as international business strategy, developing teams for greater performance and market research.
Jennifer Peasnell, Company Projects Manager, said: “We work hard with partners such as the Lake District China Forum to align the needs of businesses with the right project and in doing so help develop the skills of our students, boosting their employability.”
The creation of the project was assisted by the Confucius Institute at Lancaster University.
For more information about English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, visit englishlakes.co.uk
To find out more about LUMS Student Consultancy Research Projects, please contact Jennifer Peasnell, Company Projects Manager: