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Visit Scotland | Alba

The Chinese market

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the world's most valuable outbound tourism source market. The impact following strict lockdowns and closure of international borders until January 2023 has meant that outbound travel from China is just beginning to recover.

Key current market characteristics:

  • indications are that demand for the UK remains strong
  • VisitBritain expect the total value of spend’ from this market in the UK to recover by 2024
  • VisitBritain expect visitor numbers are expected to recover by 2026
  • a long-term trend of travelling less in large groups and more in small groups or independently looks set to continue. This trend is driven by travelers becoming more experienced, more confident and increasingly looking for more unique, off the beaten path experiences.
  • travel companies (tour operators as well as on and offline agencies) remain highly influential for planning and booking holidays

Business Case Studies

A number of Scottish businesses are already benefiting from working with the Chinese market. Watch the videos about their China-ready journey.

Our research

In 2019, we conducted consumer research which explores Chinese holidaymakers' aspiration, motivations, planning and booking behaviour related to overseas leisure trips.
This research remains relevant as we see a re-bound in visitors planning their trips around experiences including:

  • outdoor and scenic trips ​ 
  • sightseeing and “foodie” experiences
  • culture and history
  • health and wellness

These trends are a continuation and acceleration of the experience-driven travel we saw on the rise pre-pandemic. 

Read our research and insights into the Chinese market

Research snapshot


of vistiors said they would like to return to Scotland in the next two years


Scotland is part of a wider UK trip for most visitors


Most popular destinations are Edinburgh, Glasgow, The Highlands and The Loch Lomond area


of holidaymakers are seeking quality time in natural beauty

Are you China ready?

Where do I start?

Here are a few steps to start building up your knowledge of the Chinese market to Scotland.

  1. 1


    Watch our China market overview and working with the travel trade  webinars to get more information and insights into Chinese visitors to Scotland.

  2. 2

    Contact us

    Get in touch with your Industry Relationship Manager for personalised advice and support on accessing the international markets. 

    Contact your Industry Relationship Manager
  3. 3

    Quality expectations

    Chinese visitors are looking for high quality experiences in all aspects of their stay. Many visitors stay in high-quality properties which offer excellent hospitality and service. When visiting attractions, the focus is on gaining an authentic experience. Find out how our Quality Assurance schemes can help to support your business.

    Find out about our Quality Assurance schemes
  4. 4


    Chinese visitors have an increasing awareness of their impact on destinations while travelling. This realisation encourages them to seek out eco-friendly options. This including tours, accommodation and transport options.

    If your business is Green Tourism Accredited, share this with the tour operators and DMCs you work with.

  5. 5

    Get involved

    Look for opportunities to get involved in our travel trade events such as VisitScotland Connect and our Business Development Missions to China. 

China ready webinars

We recently delivered our China market overview and travel-trade webinars, which showcase the latest insights into Chinese visitors to Scotland.

Watch the webinars.

Unpack China Toolkit

The Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) China Ready Initiative has launched "Unpack China", a new online training toolkit for Scottish tourism businesses to ensure they stay at the forefront of inbound tourism from China.

Benefitting everyone in the tourism and hospitality sector, from front line staff to the management team, "Unpack China" is a series of sixteen short films and resources. Its available online and for free. It will help Scotland’s tourism and hospitality providers understand and anticipate the needs and expectations of visitors from China. 

Visit the Unpack China website
Friends explore St Andrews

Additional resources for businesses

The following organisations offer translation and cultural advice to businesses.

Contact our team

Please contact our China team who can help you with any queries. 

  • Hazel Sellar - Market Development Manager for Asia Pacific and Middle East

  • Ada Zhou - Intermediary Market Development Manager East Asia

Related links