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British attractions use Mandarin names to lure more Chinese tourists | Updated: 2015-02-16 16:36

British attractions use Mandarin names to lure more Chinese tourists

Fish and chips are served by a chef in a London restaurant, Jul 21, 2012. [Photo/IC]

The UK is introducing the latest Chinese translations to its popular destinations to attract more Chinese tourists, according to British media.

London's Savile Row is the Gaofushuai Jie, "Tall, Rich, Handsome Street", the soaring Shard building is Zhaixing Ta, "Star Plucking Tower" and kilt-wearing Scotland's Highland Games are the Gaoyuan Yongshi Dahui, "Strongman Skirt Party", among the set of Chinese names for 101 British tourist attractions unveiled on Monday, according to the Financial Times.

According to the report, those Chinese friendly translations are part of a tourism campaign by VisitBritain, the country's national tourism agency, to lure more high-spending Chinese visitors.

Compared with Europe's other destinations, such as France and Italy, the UK is less competitive to Chinese tourists in the visa application process, as they have to get a separate UK visa from the common Schengen visa that covers most European countries.

Tourists from China spend an average of £2,508 ($3,870) per visit, compared with other visitors' overall average of £640, according to VisitBritain via the Financial Times. It aims to boost revenue from Chinese tourism to £1bn annually by 2020, up from £492m in 2013.

"China is a different country with a different language and British names don't mean anything to Chinese necessarily," said Robin Johnson, head of overseas operations at VisitBritain. "This (campaign) creates names that actually bring to life what the attractions are. We need to bring out the warmth and the welcome, which is so important to Chinese visitors."

Over the past 10 weeks, a total of 13,000 names were suggested by Chinese users via voting on Visit Britain's Chinese website to decide the names of the 101 UK attractions.

Thousands of Chinese translations revealed the creativity and humor of the Chinese users. For example, the winner of the naming ballot, with 15,177 votes, suggested a simple alternative to the name of a village in Wales: Jianfei Cun, or "Healthy Lung Village", because it has the longest place name in Europe – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

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