YORK is officially big in China after the city scooped a major tourism award on Wednesday.

Visit York has received a gold China Tourist Welcome (CTW) award for its work to market the city to Chinese visitors.

A jury gave gold, silver and bronze CTW awards to 15 companies from around the world.

Michelle Brown, marketing manager for Visit York, said, “We’re thrilled to receive this accolade.

“Whilst China is not yet in our top five overseas markets, it has huge potential to grow and we’re getting ready now to ensure York benefits from this market.

“We’ve more work to do but this award means York can go forward to gain certification for the Chinese Tourist Welcome Quality label.”

In York, China has risen from 19th to tenth position as a top source market for the city over the last ten years.

Visit York has teamed up with York Minster, York’s Chocolate Story, the National Railway Museum, York Designer Outlet, Castle Howard and The Grand Hotel & Spa to attract Chinese tourism, which is now the No 1 international market.

Prof Dr Wolfgang Arlt, from the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute said: “I’d like to congratulate York on all it has done to market to Chinese visitors.

“Today all national tourism organisations agree it’s necessary to prepare to offer quality services for Chinese customers.

“These awards encourage creativity and innovation.”