Staff at Britain's third biggest airport, Manchester, have been given lessons in Mandarin as they prepare for the biggest ever influx of Chinese visitors.
More than 22,000 Chinese passengers are expected to fly through the airport in December on direct flights from Beijing and Hong Kong, according to data from the airport on Wednesday.
At Manchester Airport, staff are trained in Mandarin as part of the airport's onsite education academy. Those taking the course are also trained in Chinese etiquette and culture.
Most of the visitors are likely to head for out-of-town shopping malls and traditional Christmas markets, which will give a major boost to the region's economy.
Retailers in the north say they are bracing themselves for their highest sales volume from Chinese tourists, who are also attracted to the north by Premier League football.
Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said the Hainan Airlines' Beijing route to Manchester was the perfect example of how direct long-haul flights bring significant benefits to the whole of northern England by connecting it directly to the world economy.
"We know the region has an array of excellent retail centers, coupled with world class sporting and cultural attractions, and they are certainly proving popular with the Chinese passengers travelling on our two direct services," he said.
One of the country's biggest designer outlet shopping centers, Cheshire Oaks, has seen a 57-percent increase this year in Chinese shoppers compared to 2016.
Cheshire Oaks manager Kenny Murray said: "Chinese visitors account for around 50 percent of all tax-free sales. Tax-free sales have increased by 195 percent in the last four years."
Staff at destinations such as Cheshire Oaks and many of the designer stores in Manchester are also being taught Mandarin and, in some cases, Cantonese.
From Dec. 1, Cathay Pacific is to increase its direct service from Manchester to Hong Kong to a daily flight. During the winter months, Hainan Airlines operate a three-a-week service direct to Beijing, which runs a daily service during the summer months.