Last month saw the launch of a new forum to help businesses gear up to welcome more Chinese visitors and to provide great customer service to our Chinese community. The Chinese Consul General from Manchester joined the Leader of Leeds City Council at Leeds City Museum for the launch of Visit Leeds’ China Forum.
In his speech Chinese Consul General Xiyuan Zheng drew attention to the large numbers of Chinese people in Leeds including almost 5,000 Chinese students and 10,000 people of Chinese origin. Mr Zheng stated that there were almost 130,000 outbound Chinese tourists in 2017, which equates to almost double the population of the UK. He hopes to see more Chinese tourists coming to Leeds and more opportunities for China to develop links with Leeds’ flourishing digital economy, particularly in view of the well-established Hangzhou-Leeds city to city relationship, which is now in its 31st year.
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said that the launch of the forum is a fantastic initiative and that “Leeds businesses need to be to be ready to provide the warm welcome that we know Leeds has on offer, but that can’t happen on its own, and needs some quite serious planning.”
Visit Leeds is offering those businesses who signed up to be members access to a business support package which includes language training for staff, and translated materials including, for example, factsheets, signage and menus. In the video clip below produced by the Business Confucius Institute of the University of Leeds, Claire Heap, the Visitor Economy Manager from Leeds City Council explains the importance of providing a good visitor welcome.
Other speakers at the launch of the forum included Michael Leary from Malcolm Michaels butchers at Leeds City Market, Zoe Hands from Leeds Marriot hotel and Sam Staunton from the Body Shop in Leeds. Each of the speakers talked about how their businesses have gained from the special attention they pay to their Chinese customers.
Will Zhuang, the Visit Leeds China Ambassador, was also on hand to give his specialist advice and support. Over the next few months he will be working alongside Visit Leeds staff to develop the China Forum and to make Leeds businesses more “China ready”.