A social media campaign to attract more Chinese visitors to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, has been hailed a success with tourist numbers shooting up by 40 percent.
The Edinburgh Chinese Social Media Campaign was launched in November 2016 by the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group. It has attracted almost 60,000 followers and received 66 million hits across its channels, according to the country's national tourist board, VisitScotland.
The campaign used influential Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat to push Edinburgh as a must-see destination for visitors from China, offering travel tips, itineraries and promotions in Mandarin, from the city's most popular tourism businesses. It also recommended key points of interest for Chinese travelers, such as history, architecture, film locations and shopping.
Edinburgh is the most popular United Kingdom destination after London, and aims to double the number of Chinese tourists by 2020.
VisitScotland, which funded the 40,000-pound (,000) campaign with its Growth Fund award, said it has been a dynamic and influential collaboration of China-focused businesses, securing 21 private-sector industry partners, as well as providing Chinese social media briefings to 75 businesses.
"The support from Edinburgh's tourism businesses－as well as VisitScotland's Growth Fund and Scottish Enterprise－has enabled the destination's first-ever social media channels in China to exceed all our expectations," said Rob Lang, chair of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group's China Ready Initiative.
Edinburgh businesses seeing the benefits include Edinburgh Castle, Haggis Backpackers, which saw a 20 percent increase in Chinese visitor numbers, and Laing the Jeweller, which reported a 40 percent rise.
Edinburgh Castle figures reveal that more than 177,000 visitors of Chinese origin visited the attraction last year.
Graham Kelly, VisitScotland market manager China & East Asia, said: "The Chinese market has huge growth potential for tourism in Scotland, so it's fantastic to see the phenomenal success of the Chinese Social Media Campaign … and I look forward to welcoming many more Chinese visitors as this campaign continues to go from strength to strength."