A GROUP of Lake District businesses have commissioned two Lancaster University students to research Chinese attitudes to overseas travel and tourism.

The results will be used by the newly formed China Forum to help develop plans to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit the Lake District.

The research will also play a key role in preparations for a trade visit to Beijing in November.

It will be the fourth time that Colin Fox from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues has visited the vast Asian country to promote the area.


But for the first time he will be joined by representatives from a number of other leading Lake District tourism businesses.

The group will meet representatives from the Chinese travel trade and the local media as part of an initiative by the UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain.

Mr Fox said: “There is growing recognition of the importance of the Chinese market for the Lake District. We are seeing increasing numbers of Chinese visitors coming to the area and it is essential that we make sure the Lake District is high on the list of places for Chinese people to visit in Britain.”

English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues enlisted the help of Yan Li and Zhiling Lou, both of whom are studying MSc Management at Lancaster University Management School, to produce the report on Chinese tourism.

The students were taken on a trip by Mountain Goat to visit a number of Lake District tourism businesses as part of their research, including Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel, Blackwell Arts Centre, The World of Beatrix Potter, Dove Cottage, Brockhole, Hill Top, as well as taking a trip on Windermere Lake Cruises and visiting Hawkshead.

Their research will also include questionnaires, focus groups and telephone interviews to explore what aspects of the Lake District would be of most interest to Chinese tourists and the types of activities that would be their most popular choices.

“We are keen to understand how to attract more Chinese people to visit the Lake District and the activities that should be offered," said Mr Fox.

"We are particularly interested in how we can best target groups such as Chinese students in this country and their families, as well as Chinese travel businesses organising visits to the UK.

"We hope that Yan Li and Zhiling Lou will help us get a much better understanding of what motivates Chinese tourists. It’s a great opportunity to nurture and exploit a rapidly expanding tourism market.”