Top Stories


    Feb 17, 2015

    Been to UK's Star Plucking Tower?


    BRITAIN is introducing the latest Chinese translations of its popular destinations to attract more Chinese tourists, according to the British media.

    London's Savile Row is Gaofushuai Jie, "Tall, Rich, Handsome Street"; the soaring Shard building is Zhaixing Ta, or "Star Plucking Tower"; and kilt-wearing Scotland's Highland Games are the Gaoyuan Yongshi Dahui, "Strongman Skirt Party". They were among the set of Chinese names for 101 British tourist attractions unveiled yesterday, according to the Financial Times.

    The report said that these Chinese-friendly translations are part of a tourism campaign by VisitBritain, the country's national tourism agency, to woo more big-spending Chinese visitors.

    Compared with Europe's other destinations such as France and Italy, Britain is less appealing to Chinese tourists due to the visa-application process, as they have to get a separate British visa from the common Schengen visa that covers most European countries.

    Tourists from China spend an average of £2,508 (S$5,240) per visit, compared with other visitors' overall average of £640, according to VisitBritain via the Financial Times. It aims to boost revenue from Chinese tourism to £1 billion annually by 2020, up from £492 million in 2013.

    "China is a different country with a different language, and British names don't necessarily mean anything to the Chinese," said Robin Johnson, head of overseas operations at VisitBritain.

    "This (campaign) creates names that actually bring to life what the attractions are. We need to bring out the warmth and the welcome, which is so important to Chinese visitors."

    Over the past 10 weeks, a total of 13,000 names were suggested by Chinese users via voting on VisitBritain's Chinese website to decide the names of the 101 British attractions.

    Thousands of Chinese translations revealed the creativity and humour of the users.

    For example, the winner of the naming ballot, with 15,177 votes, suggested a simple alternative to the name of a village in Wales: Jianfei Cun, or "Healthy Lung Village", because it has the longest place name in Europe: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.