The UK travel hub is praised for its efforts to welcome Chinese tourists
Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom has scooped a prestigious international award for its work to support the Chinese market.
Britain's third-largest airport was recognized for its efforts in welcoming Chinese passengers, winning a gold award at the Chinese Tourist Welcome Awards organized by the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.
The award recognizes the airport's Chinese New Year campaign in February to mark the Year of the Pig.
Julian Carr, aviation director at Manchester Airport, said: "We're honored to have won this award for our work welcoming passengers to the North of England. Our services to China continue to go from strength to strength, and the region is seeing the economic and social benefits of these links, so it's hugely important that we make great efforts to make our Chinese passengers feel at ease, as they're traveling through the airport."
Since the launch of direct flights to China in 2016, the hub has seen a 38 percent increase in the number of Chinese visitors, a growth rate higher than both London and the United Kingdom average.
The China flights have been a major boost to the local economy with the average spend per visit in the northwest of England rising by 94 percent, to 2,167 pounds ($2,736). It is now 5 percent higher than the national average.
Export values from Manchester Airport to China grew by 41 percent, to 1.29 billion pounds, in the two years following the launch of the Beijing route, while nationally values fell 30 percent, the airport said.
According to the airport's latest figures, more than 260,000 passengers traveled to Beijing and Hong Kong from the airport during the last year.
The Hong Kong flights have been operated by Cathay Pacific for four and a half years and Hainan Airlines has operated flights to Beijing for nearly three years.
During Manchester Airport's Chinese New Year campaign, a Chinese "wishing tree" was set up in Terminal Two, giving passengers the opportunity to hang their New Year wishes from the branches of the 3-meter blossom tree.
Dozens of Chinese lanterns were also hung throughout the terminals to welcome passengers, and there were traditional lion dances and a contemporary Chinese art exhibition.
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