Increase In Chinese Visitors To Islands

Sabine Schraudolph

A new tourism market is opening for islands businesses. Chinese visitors appear to have taken an interest in booking holidays here.

The Government says 150,000 visitor visas were issued in China during 2010. That’s 42% more than in 2009.

And last year, Selfridge’s department store even taught some staff Mandarin because of the increased demand.

Here on islands, owner of the Isles of Scilly Country Guesthouse, Sabine Schraudolph, has noticed four separate bookings from parties of Chinese nationals already this year.

Sabine says her new website and online booking facilities, which have been partly supported by a Local Action Group grant, have significantly increased her business from overseas and she’s 20% up on web bookings already.

Sabine says the visitors have really enjoyed their visits here and say it’s something very different from what they’re used to.

She says she’s prepared to change to offer guests what they want and if that means altering menus she’ll do it. She offers soup to her Chinese guests, which is traditionally taken at breakfast in China.

Sabine says last year she had people of all nationalities staying with her, including Japanese, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Canadians, and she thinks this is down to her online booking facilities.