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New direct flights from China mark boost for tourism

Cumbria Tourism, the county’s official destination organisation, is welcoming the start of the first ever direct flights to the North of England from Mainland China.

Hainan Airlines starting flying from Beijing to Manchester Airport today, Friday 10 June 2016, and tourism businesses in Cumbria are hoping the new service will unlock new opportunities within this rapidly expanding overseas market.

Visitors to this country from China have doubled in the last five years and VisitBritain estimates that they will treble again by 2020.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, says, “The addition of these new direct flights from China is a really positive boost to Cumbria’s £2.62 billion tourism industry, making it easier than ever before for Chinese visitors to explore iconic landscapes including the English Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall. Some of Cumbria’s key tourism businesses recently held a showpiece event in London to spread the word about our rich culture and heritage to Chinese tour operators, and the new Beijing flights again underline how well connected and accessible the North of England is to the Chinese visitor market.

Several Cumbrian tourism businesses, including Windermere Lake Cruises, English Lakes Hotels and the Lakes Distillery, were at Manchester Airport to welcome the passengers on this morning’s inaugural flight.

Jennifer Cormack, Sales Manager for Windermere Lake Cruises and Chair of the Lake District China Forum says, “China is an economic powerhouse and there has been a clear increase in the number of Chinese visitors to the Lake District over the past couple of years. The introduction of the Beijing–Manchester flight route opens up the North West even further and we need to make the most of this fantastic new opportunity.

Maria Duddin, Business Development and PR Manager at The Lakes Distillery, adds, “The Lakes Distillery and Fentimans are thrilled to be the regional exclusive spirit and drinks provider for the inaugural celebration of the first direct flight from Beijing to Manchester. As members of the China Forum, we are very excited to welcome the Chinese market direct to the region and continue to grow the great relations between China and The Lake District that this direct flight path will greatly enhance.


Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact Cumbria Tourism Press Office:

1. Cumbria Tourism is the lead organisation for tourism in the county and is at the heart of the Cumbria Visitor Economy. It is also the largest membership organisation in Cumbria with more than 2,400 members. In 2015, more than 43 million people visited Cumbria, contributing more than £2.62 billion to the local economy and support around 61,000 jobs.

3. For more information about visiting the Lake District, Cumbria, visit:

4. To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit

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