18 February 2019
Kilted participants in the 'Strongman Skirt Party' show off their prowess. Photo: VisitScotland
Kilted participants in the 'Strongman Skirt Party' show off their prowess. Photo: VisitScotland

Netizens give British tourist attractions Chinese names

London’s 87-story Shard building is Zhai Xing Ta, the “Star Plucking Tower”, and the Highland Games of the kilt-wearing Scots is Qun Ying Hui, the “Strongman Skirt Party”.

These are among the names, in Chinese, for 101 British tourist destinations that were unveiled Monday, the Guardian reported.

VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is rechristening in Putonghua some of the country’s most popular attractions, in a campaign to lure more high-spending Chinese visitors.

Britain suffers a disadvantage in attracting Chinese tourists, because they must get a British visa that is separate from the common visa that covers members of the European Union’s Schengen open-border zone.

The Schengen visa allows free movement among rival destinations including France, Italy and Spain.

Tourists from China spend an average of £2,508 (US$3,867) per visit, almost four times the average for all tourists of £640, the Financial Times reported.

“This [campaign] creates names that actually bring to life what the attractions are,” said Robin Johnson, head of overseas operations at VisitBritain.

Altogether, 13,000 names were suggested by millions of Chinese social media users over the past 10 weeks. Visitors to VisitBritain’s Chinese website then voted on the suggestions to arrive at three leading contenders for each attraction.

The name that got the highest votes, 15,177, came from an internet user called Qiao Chen.

The Chinese name he suggested for Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch — the village in Wales that has the longest place name in Europe – is Jian Fei Cun, or “Healthy Lung Village”.

He explained his recommendation on the website: “This village has a very long name, and it is said that its inhabitants always say the whole name in one breath, showing that they have big and healthy lungs.”

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