TOURISM bosses are confident their latest sales mission to China will bring even more visitors from the Far East to the city and surroundings.

Visit York's marketing manager Michelle Brown has just returned from VisitBritain’s China sales visit in Guangzhou.

About 80 tour operators from across China attended the three-day event, searching for travel ideas to sell to their customers and include in their brochures.

Jorvik Viking Festival and a Harry Potter-inspired shop are among the key attractions already luring Chinese visitors to the area, with Castle Howard and Selby Abbey also high on the list of places to visit since the wedding of Taiwanese pop star and actor, Jay Chou, in January 2015.

Michelle, an expert on tourism marketing in China, said: “Our aim is to grow the number of tour operators featuring York in their holiday brochures.

“We know Chinese visitors love our history, heritage and especially our afternoon teas and shopping. They even love to try our fish and chips. After 40 one-to-one appointments with some of China’s most high-profile travel companies I’m confident York will see the benefits of this mission next year and in 2019.”

Visit York aims to attract Chinese visitors with a mix of shopping at venues such as Pandora, Fenwick and York Designer Outlet, afternoon tea at venues such as the Grand Hotel and Spa and the National Railway Museum’s Countess of York and visitor attractions, such as York Minster, York’s Chocolate Story and JORVIK.

Michelle added: “The tour operators were especially interested in the Shop That Must Not Be Named on Shambles and in Castle Howard. We’ve already had a key enquiry from Chengdu for example to contract bedrooms for the Grand Hotel and Spa and from one of the biggest Chinese tour operators, Caissa, to feature the Jorvik Viking Festival in their holiday brochures.”

York has 6.9 million visitors annually, with 250,000 from overseas, mainly from the US, China, Australia, Germany, Netherlands and France.

This year, Visit York has also released a fourth edition of York’s Visitor Guide in Mandarin, with 35,000 copies distributed via five inbound airlines from China, at airport lounges and visa application offices in Beijing and Shanghai.