New research reveals what visitors from China REALLY think of Scotland


03 October 2019
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As China celebrates its national golden week, VisitScotland has revealed first of its kind research into what Chinese holidaymakers think of Scotland.
The national tourism organisation is marking the Chinese holiday Golden Week – which honours the Peoples Republic of China being established – with new data revealing that 87 percent of Chinese visitors to Scotland say they would like to return, thanks to the “beautiful landscapes”.
 
As well as scenery, holidaymakers also listed Scotland’s culture, relaxing atmosphere and its family-friendliness as motivations for a return trip.
 
The insights come from the initial findings of new research by VisitScotland conducted among travellers, aged 25 to 45 from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in mainland China. Within the survey group were former visitors and people who have never come to Scotland before.
 
In recent years, China has become one of the fastest growing outbound tourism countries in the world, reflected in a 300% rise in visitor numbers to Scotland within the last ten years according to International Passenger Survey figures.
 
Preconceptions before a visit
 
The survey found that Chinese holidaymakers, who haven’t visited Scotland before, rely on very traditional images when thinking of Scotland: bagpipes, kilts, whisky, and castles. On the other hand, previous visitors also associate Scotland with images of wildlife, nature, escapism, spirit of freedom and friendly local people
 
Around 35 per cent of these holidaymakers consider Scotland to be full of proud history and heritage and 30 per cent believe it is a non-touristy destination where they can truly enjoy themselves.
 

Popular destinations

Chinese visitors to Scotland are inspired to come by iconic sights and attractions they had heard of (33 percent) – with Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Loch Ness, the Highlands and Glasgow mentioned most often.
 
The top four visited locations are Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Highlands and the Loch Lomond area. The majority of visitors stayed in a hotel while in Scotland, with over half in four star and above.
 
During their trip they visited ancient and traditional buildings, historical sites and heritage wonders, enjoyed stories and artefacts, and experienced the great outdoors, coastlines and islands. Visitors also took in lakes, mountains and grasslands, indulged in gourmet and luxury foods, tried local delicacies and did some souvenir shopping.
 
Famed Chinese dancer Yang Liping reveals her impressions of Scotland while performing at the Edinburgh International Festival:
 

 
 

(report and images courtesy of VisitScotland)