Solihull ready to Huan Ying (Welcome) China visitors

24th August 2015

Sally Bowen, Gastro Card Director and Chair of Solihull Tourism Forum enjoyed an early start with a group of Forum members to meet passengers from the Beijing flight at Birmingham Airport.

Picture 1 Sally Iqbal Clare Emma Laura Justine

L-R -Sally Bowen, Chair of Solihull Tourism Forum, Iqbal Khan, Virgin Trains, Clare Galvin, Crowne Plaza, Sarah Ewen, Crowne Plaza, Laura Moore, Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, Justine Howl, Head of Communications, Birmingham Airport.

Solihull is becoming ‘China Ready’ to give visitors from China a UK welcome and create a positive first impression as they step onto British soil.

Organised through the Solihull Tourism Forum, local hotels, retailers and transport providers have been given an insight into how to attract Chinese visitors, what their expectations are and how to adapt their marketing and services for the Chinese market.

The training, delivered by Gary Grieve from Capela China, part of the VisitBritain GREAT China Welcome, involves understanding Chinese etiquette and trends, and has been undertaken due to the opportunities presented by the new direct flights from Beijing to Birmingham Airport.

Picture 2 Clare Sally Iqbal with certificates

L-R Clare Galvin, Crowne Plaza, Sally Bowen, Chair of Solihull Tourism Forum and Iqbal Khan, Virgin Trains with their China Tourist Welcome Training Programme Certificates.

Those who undertook the training include Crowne Plaza at NEC, Gastro Card, Hampton Manor, Hilton Metropole, Hogarth’s Hotel, Holiday Inn at Birmingham Airport, Resorts World, Solihull Council, Touchwood Shopping Centre and Virgin Trains.

Councillor Ian Courts, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Managed Growth, said,
China is a key market for both investment and inbound tourism. It is crucial that we understand how we can raise the profile of our area and capitalise on the opportunities for future growth from the Beijing flights”.

It is fantastic how members of the Tourism Forum have come together to ensure Solihull is put on the map as ‘China Ready’ and ensure their first experience of the UK creates a positive impression.”

Working in partnership with Birmingham Airport, Forum members also used the opportunity to welcome Chinese passengers directly from one of the scheduled flights, distributing information and giveaways promoting Solihull as a place to visit and stay.

Jo Lloyd, Commercial Director, Birmingham Airport, said,
Solihull has been very supportive of Birmingham Airport’s China flights and it’s great to see the involvement of so many partners in the borough.

“Our Chinese colleagues involved in the Beijing flight programme this year have been very impressed with all the local support given and delighted to see supporters making steps to learn Mandarin and give them a great China welcome.”

Picture 3 Charles

Charles Lu, Resorts World Birmingham

Jo Leslie, who manages the GREAT China Welcome programme for VisitBritain, said,
There is strong evidence that businesses and destinations who go the extra mile in catering for certain nationalities quickly reap the benefits.

“Solihull and its partners have been quick to recognise the massive potential of the Chinese market and invested accordingly. We congratulate them on their achievements and hope that many more British tourism and hospitality businesses will follow their example.”

Picture 4 Sally and Justine with Chinese arrivals

F/B: Sally Bowen, Chair of Solihull Tourism Forum, Justine Howl, Head of Communications at Birmingham Airport.

Over 200 Chinese passengers were met with goodie bags containing cookies, keyrings, pens and sunglasses as they stepped out into the sunshine at Birmingham Airport. Our thanks to Harvey Nichols who provided bags for our goodies!

We are delighted for Solihull Tourism Forum members to be included as a case study for China Outbound Tourism Research Institute:

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