Britain gears up for biggest New Year show outside Asia

By Wang Mingjie | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-01-13 17:28

Britain is gearing up for some of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia and tourism chiefs expect they will help attract a record influx of visitors from China.

Britain gears up for biggest New Year show outside Asia

People enjoy a past New Year celebration in London's Chinatown.  [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese New Year falls on Jan 28, marking the start of the Year of the Rooster. Visitors will be able to join celebrations nationwide.

In London, celebrations include a parade on Jan 29 that starts in Chinatown and ends in Trafalgar Square.

Manchester will put on a Dragon Parade, complete with a 50-foot dragon, which will end in Chinatown with traditional Chinese entertainment, more than 6,000 lanterns, street food and a fireworks grand finale.

This year will also see the top international art exhibition Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors held in Manchester during the celebrations.

Other significant events will take place in Birmingham, Cumbria, Edinburgh, the Isle of Wight, Leeds and Liverpool.

James Kennell, principal lecturer in tourism at the University of Greenwich, said the celebrations provide a great opportunity to showcase British Chinese culture and to attract visitors who will experience the UK as a diverse, multicultural country.

He said: "Chinese communities in cities such as Liverpool, London and Manchester have held these events for many years and they have become part of the cultural landscape."

The extent of the New Year celebrations mirrors the number of Chinese tourists flocking to the country.

The latest flight booking data from ForwardKeys, a travel data analysis company, shows that bookings from China to the UK for January are up by 81 percent compared with the same time last year.

Speaking at a Chinese New Year preview event for the Chinese travel trade and press in London this week, Richard Nicholls of national tourism agency VisitBritain, said this reflected a New Year bulge in Chinese visitor numbers.

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director, has described China as "a huge tourism opportunity for Britain."

She said: "Chinese New Year is traditionally one of the busiest travel times for Chinese travelers and we want to make sure the UK is at the top of their list."


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