Unpack China Training Toolkit to Assist Scottish Tourism Recovery

Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) China Ready Initiative have launched Unpack China, a new online training toolkit for Scottish tourism businesses

THE Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) China Ready Initiative have launched Unpack China, a new online training toolkit for Scottish tourism businesses to ensure they stay at the forefront of inbound tourism from China once international travel opens up again.  Benefitting everyone in the tourism and hospitality sector, from front line staff to the management team, Unpack China is a series of sixteen short films and resources, available online and for free, which will help Scotland’s tourism and hospitality providers understand and anticipate the needs and expectations of visitors from China. 

Unveiled at the annual ETAG Conference, Unpack China has been developed by ETAG’s China Ready Initiative in partnership with the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh with support from Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland to share industry and cultural expertise with the tourism and hospitality industries across the country and to reinforce the message that Scotland is ready to welcome Chinese visitors again.

Pre-Covid, China was the world’s largest tourism market and Scotland, in particular Edinburgh, is still the most popular UK destination for Chinese visitors outside London. In addition to inbound visitors, there are currently over 143,000 Chinese students studying in British Universities, 12% of those in Scotland, who use their weekends and inter-semester holidays to travel within the UK and Europe.  In the decade to 2019, visits from China to Scotland increased 5-fold, and expenditure 7-fold. Pre-Covid, it was Scotland’s 5th largest international market by spend.  However, it is an incredibly competitive market and ETAG and their partners believe that every effort should be made by businesses across the tourism and hospitality industries in Scotland to be ready to welcome Chinese visitors back.  

Launching the Unpack China training toolkit, Rob Lang, Chair of the ETAG China Ready Initiative, said: “Unpack China offers tourism and hospitality businesses, not only in Edinburgh but across the whole of Scotland, the opportunity to understand how best to engage with Chinese visitors.  From the largest hotel chains to the smallest B&Bs, from internationally renowned visitor attractions to small shops and cafes, we can all work together to welcome back travellers from China and to develop this market that has become so important to Scotland.”

In addition to explaining how to engage with Chinese visitors on social media the easy-to- follow films, which are the first of their kind in Scotland, explore Chinese culture, holidays, the things that attract Chinese visitors to Scotland and their interest in our Scottish culture, food and drink.  The toolkit also includes case studies from several business across the sector, including visitor attractions, hospitality, retail and accommodation providers who have successfully attracted, served and developed their engagement with Chinese visitors.

Professor Natascha Gentz, Director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland, said: “The Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh has been proud to be a partner of ETAG in this important project, both financially and intellectually. It was a great pleasure to work with the team in developing the themes and producing the films. We strongly believe this toolkit will become an important asset for the tourism industry in Edinburgh and beyond.”

Hazel Sellar, VisitScotland Market Development Manager for China and East Asia, said: “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese travellers were increasingly enjoying holidays to long-haul destinations. An appreciation of unique and exciting experiences meant that Scotland was perfectly positioned to welcome visitors from this market, time and time again. 

“Supporting the creation of the Unpack China video series is essential to adding to tourism recovery for Scottish businesses, especially as we look to welcome back international visitors. These training resources will help tourism businesses understand the importance of the Chinese tourism market, as well as Chinese culture and the needs of Chinese visitors, helping ensure we extend our famous warm Scottish welcome to everyone.  The video series accompanies a number of other existing tools available to Scottish businesses to help them provide the best experiences and services to Chinese visitors.

“Our goal is to continue to inspire Chinese long-haul travellers to consider Scotland as a destination, showcasing the great products we know appeal to Chinese visitors and equipping the Scottish tourism industry to engage with them when they arrive.”

Unpack China is available for free to everybody working across the Scottish tourism sector and can be accessed through www.unpackchina.com.

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