Blenheim Palace has won national recognition for its positive approach to welcoming visitors from China.
The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site was presented with the GREAT China Welcome award at VisitEngland’s prestigious Awards for Excellence event held at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel in London on Monday.
The GREAT China welcome programme aims to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly-growing Chinese market.
Blenheim Palace’s Operations Director, Heather Carter said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. Blenheim Palace is a living, changing experience with a wealth of events, themed tours and exhibitions throughout the year, and welcomes millions of visitors both from the UK and overseas. We were the first stately home to sign up for the GREAT China Charter and we are committed to developing our Chinese market.
“Blenheim is continually looking at innovative ways to improve and adapt the visitor experience to appeal to Chinese tourists and to underline the fact we are ‘China ready’,” she added.
Among the initiatives currently in place are Chinese guide books and guides, an audio guide and map on their website, a Mandarin speaking waitress in the Orangery and a menu in Mandarin. All staff also have the opportunity to enrol in Mandarin Chinese language classes free of charge.The team are about to produce audio recordings of some of the Palace and Gardens tours in a variety of languages; including Chinese.
Blenheim Palace was also among the first major UK heritage visitor attractions to accept UnionPay, the most widely used bank debit card throughout China and South East Asia.In addition to its on-site initiatives. Blenheim Palace works with a number of Chinese travel groups, tour operators and trade missions in China.
At the centre of the programme is the GREAT China Welcome Charter which helps Chinese visitors to easily identify hotels, attractions, retailers and tour operators that are making themselves ‘China-ready’ by providing information in Mandarin or Cantonese and adapting their products for the Chinese market and culture.
Built in the early 18th century to celebrate Britain’s victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession, Blenheim Palace is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.