In a bid to attract Chinese tourists, VisitBritain, the U.K.'s tourism bureau, will rename several popular landmarks in a way that allows Chinese speakers to understand them better. VisitBritain opened up the naming rights to 101 of the U.K.’s most famous landmarks to the Chinese public, and received over 13,000 descriptive names as suggestions.
VisitBritain says the new Chinese names will be featured on tourist signs and on official websites. Many of the new names given to the landmarks will be in line with a traditional Chinese habit of translating foreign names while sidestepping literal, sometimes awkward, descriptions.
According to a report by the Telegraph, the tourism agency hopes the move will double spending by Chinese tourists in the U.K. to one billion pounds ($1.5 billion) by the year 2020, from the current 500 million pounds ($768 million). VisitBritain also hopes the effort will make other destinations outside London known to tourists.
“China is the world’s biggest outbound market,” Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain, told the Telegraph. “And we want to ensure that we continue to compete effectively in it to deliver growth and jobs across the nations and regions of Britain.”
While some sights received names that aren’t too unlike the original name -- Hadrian’s Wall is to become the "Wall of Eternity" -- others have received more descriptive names. For instance, Savile Row is to be described as "Custom-Made Rich People Street."
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a village in Wales, received the most votes for a name change. Over 15,000 people voted to change the name to "Healthy-Lung Village," to represent the lung capacity needed to say the name.
Other names, expected to be officially announced later this week, include Chatsworth that will probably become "A Traditional English World" while Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is to become "A Beautiful Street With Long History and Profound Culture." Other possibilities seem more straightforward. Knightsbridge in London is expected to adopt the honest name of "A Place Filled With Things To Attract Yuppies And Fashionable Ladies."
Mario Zanti, general manager of The Needles, a landmark located off the Isle of Wight, which the Chinese will come to know and remember as "Poseidon’s Trident," hopes that the name change will add to what he sees as an already growing Chinese tourist market.
“Poseidon’s Trident is certainly a fitting alternative name for the Needles,” Zanti said, in the report. “An association with the god of the sea befits a national coastal landmark of our stature.”
“We’ve seen the Chinese market grow dramatically over the past two years,” he added. “And we hope to welcome many more Chinese visitors in coming seasons.”