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Thursday, January 12, 2017, 10:43
Birmingham orchestra tour celebrates a century of friendship
By Chen Nan
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 18:47 By Chen Nan

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra performed at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Jan 5 under the baton of conductor Vassily Sinaisky.(Photo provided to China Daliy)

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has just concluded its first tour in China,from late December in Guangzhou,Changsha,Shanghai to Beijing on Jan 5.The orchestra,which is composed of around 85musicians,performed Elgar's Enigma Variations as well as music of Tchaikovsky,Pablo de Sarasate an Dvorak under the baton of conductor Vassily Sinaisky.

With the Lunar New Year this weekend, an influx of visitors from China is expected to give Britain's tourism industry a boost as many Chinese tourists celebrate the start of the Year of the Rooster across the UK.

The number of flight bookings from China to the UK is up by 81percent compared with January last year, according to flight data website ForwardKeys and for the first three months of this year bookings are already up by 43 percent.

Patricia Yates, director of official UK tourist body VisitBritain said: "Britain is offering great value for Chinese visitors right now. This is traditionally one of the busiest travel times for Chinese travelers and we want Britain to be top of their list as a must-go now destination."

Against the backdrop of a weak pound following the UK's vote to leave the European Union, Britain was 11 percent more affordable for Chinese visitors last December compared with the same period in 2015.

Just last month, China's Hainan Airline and Alitrip, ecommerce giant Alibaba's tourism arm, teamed up with VisitBritain to attract more travellers from China.

"We are making it easier to travel to Britain through increasing regional route connectivity and seat capacity," Yates said, "And by amplifying our marketing reach in China with Alitrip, showcasing the diversity of experiences and destinations across Britain, we're seeing more bookings, driving our ambitious plans for growth."

Chinese tourists spend longer and travel more widely in Britain than other international visitors. They also spend more – splashing out an average of 2,174 pounds ($2,734) each visit.

China also moved into Britain's top-10 most valuable inbound market for the first time in 2015 and the UK tourism agency hopes that by 2020 Chinese tourist spending in the UK will double to1 billion pounds.

In one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, events across the UK include dragon parades in Manchester, lion dances in Birmingham and there are also numerous festivities in London, Glasgow and Newcastle taking place.

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