Yorkshire is celebrating the start of Chinese New Year with an announcement today of a huge increase in the number of visitors from the Far East choosing to visit the region.
Research by Visit Britain shows figures have more than doubled since 2012 when 9,000 Chinese people chose Yorkshire as a holiday destination, compared to almost 20,000 in 2016.
Recent global research found the Chinese had a positive opinion of Britain, ranking it fourth overall out of 50 nations. And the same study revealed they were attracted not just to major sites like stately homes and Royal palaces, but also the ‘beauty of the landscape’ and feeling ‘connected to nature’.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive Sir Gary Verity said: “China is fast becoming the biggest force in world tourism and we’re delighted to see a huge increase in visits to this part of the world. All the signs are that those numbers will rise even further as we await the final figures for 2017 which we believe will show a further upward trend.”
Sir Gary’s comments came as he visited the kitchens of Leeds restaurant Tattu for a lesson in the art of high-end Chinese cookery courtesy of its executive chef Clifton Muil.
“Chinese New Year is a really important date in the restaurant’s calendar,” Mr Muil said. “We’re very much looking forward to showing Leeds how we celebrate with our food and a spectacular lion dance performance planned for Saturday evening.”
In Sheffield, the City Hall is the venue for the city’s annual Chinese cultural show which has grown since 2004 to include local and international performances. Jointly organised by the city’s two universities, the council and community groups, the event on Tuesday 20 February attracts thousands of people from across the city region.
Several events have been taking place in the city since the beginning of the month including workshops, exhibitions and parades. It culminates in a huge celebration hosted by the Leeds Chinese Community Association at Leeds Town Hall on Sunday.
At Hull City Hall, traditional Chinese lion dancing and a mix of music from East and West are included in the city’s New Year celebrations on Saturday 17 February.
Scarborough-based Amelia’s Chocolate is running a series of confectionery-making drop-in workshops today and Saturday at their Victoria Road shop. People can get into the spirit of celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Dog by making dog-shaped chocolate lollies or pictures.