This article has been written with the support of Edinburgh Tourist Action Group. Find out more.
Edinburgh celebrates Chinese New Year in style
- Arusa Qureshi
- 1 November 2018
How Scotland's growing connections with China and plans for 2019 will see the strengthening of cultural and economic links
The links between Scotland and China have seen steady growth over the past decade, aided in part by the arrival of giant panda Tian Tian and her mate Yang Guang in December 2011. Welcomed to Edinburgh Zoo on a 10-year loan and as part of a £2.6bn trade deal, the pair have since attracted visitors from all over the world hoping to catch a glimpse of the charismatic and rarely seen animal. At the time, it was noted that the loan '[symbolised] the great and growing friendship between Scotland and China' and this has only strengthened in recent years, as the number of Chinese visitors to the capital continues to increase.
The surge in tourists has been helped greatly by the recent announcement of the first ever direct flights from Scotland to China, which began in June, connecting the cities of Beijing and Edinburgh. With Edinburgh being second only to London as the most popular UK destination for Chinese tourists, the new route aims to build on the cultural and economic links already shared between the two countries.
As celebrations begin in early 2019 for Chinese New Year, undoubtedly the biggest and most significant of all the Chinese cultural holidays, tourist attractions, retailers and businesses are being encouraged to mark the occasion as part of a special campaign to make Edinburgh the UK's most China-friendly destination.
For 2019, the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) and Heriot Watt University's Confucius Institute will promote Edinburgh's largest-ever programme of Chinese New Year events, celebrations and concerts – making visitors feel welcome in the city while also introducing and connecting Edinburgh's residents with Chinese cultural traditions.