Beijing Air Route Boosts Yorkshire Economy
Yorkshire is reaping the rewards of its ever-stronger ties with China, according to research just out.
Driven by two years of direct flights between Manchester and Beijing, levels of growth in trade, tourism and knowledge exchange between Yorkshire and the Far East are outstripping national averages.
And Chinese investors are looking to Yorkshire with increasing regularity, furthering a trend sparked by President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to the North nearly three years ago.
This “golden era” of relations between the North and China was revealed in a study launched at the British Embassy in Beijing this week.
“The China Dividend: Two Years In” has tracked the economic, cultural and social benefits that have been felt across Yorkshire in the two years since direct flights began.
The findings of the study by independent consultants Steer Davis Gleave include:
There has been a 77% increase in the number of Chinese visitors to Yorkshire since 2016 – a growth rate higher than both London and the UK average. The UK average is 30%.
The average spend per visit in Yorkshire increased by 30% and is now 26% higher than the national average.
The number of Chinese students in Yorkshire and Humber has grown by 2%.
There has been a 114% increase in Northern students gaining Chinese internships, with more than 70% from low income backgrounds. Yorkshire and Humber has seen a 220% increase.
In the city of York, China soared from being the city’s 15th biggest visitor market five years ago to fourth last year and now second.
China now accounts for 14% of overseas visits in York, up from 9% 12 months earlier, and some hotels have reported bookings doubling in the past year. One quarter of visitors to York Minster are now Chinese and Castle Howard has seen a 50% increase in visitors.
Sheffield has also seen investment from China continue to rise, including in projects like the New Era City Development, whilst the city of Bradford is building links with Qingdao, a relationship built on both areas’ specialisms in film. In 2017, Bradford opened a film office in Qingdao, and Qingdao joined Bradford as a UNESCO City of Film.
The Manchester-Beijing route has grown faster than any other UK-China route that has been in operation for more than 12 months. Export values from Manchester Airport to China grew 41% to £1.29bn in the two years after route launch, while national values fell 30%.
Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager, Visit York, said:
“The direct flight to and from Beijing marks a milestone for our relations with China. As a major international gateway into the North of England, the direct flight opens up a world of new opportunities for York, Yorkshire and the North of England, both for tourism and investment generally. China has moved rapidly from the 11th largest overseas tourism market for York to ranking 2nd place behind the US.”
Beijing Air Route Boosts Yorkshire Economy, 19th September 2018, 12:09 PM