Tourists take photos outside the Blair Athol Distillery, one of the oldest of its kind in Scotland, which dates to 1798. (Photo/China Daily)
Destinations stepping up efforts to welcome visitors
On a brisk winter morning, a young Chinese couple stroll through Edinburgh Castle, taking in the history of this iconic attraction in the Scottish capital.
Xie Zhuoqun and Meng Hongfei are two of a growing number of Chinese who are visiting the popular landmark.
Xie, 32, from Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, said her attention was drawn to Edinburgh when she came across a random Sina Weibo social media post about Hogmanay-the Scottish celebration marking the Western New Year.
"I was mesmerized by the city's atmosphere, the fireworks over the castle, the torch processions on the Royal Mile, and the street parties everywhere. From that point onward, I knew I wanted to see Edinburgh in person, and here we are," she said.
Revenue from Chinese visitors has risen by almost 350 percent in a decade, according to the tourism agency VisitScotland.
To help reap the benefits from the rise in visitor numbers from China, destinations across Scotland are stepping up efforts to welcome these tourists.
Chinese-language signs and posters are dotted around popular tourist spots in Edinburgh, where busloads of visitors explore and enjoy the sights.
Scottish businesses, such as the jewelry brand Hamilton and Inches and luxury fashion accessories label Strathberry, have hired Mandarin-speaking personnel and social media professionals to cater to the growing number of Chinese visitors.
Daniel Turner, senior lecturer in marketing, events and tourism at the University of West Scotland, said there is a natural synergy between traditional Scottish tourism offerings and the Chinese market.