The Lake District is set to be positioned as a must-see destination for more than 20,000 people across China in a new partnership announced this week.
Local government in the rapidly-expanding district of Nanshan, Shenzhen in south China, invited key figures from south Cumbria’s culture and tourism sector to establish an economic and cultural partnership.
During a four-day tour earlier this month Richard Leafe, chief executive of Lake District National Park; Steve Scott, director of Kendal Mountain Festival (KMF), and Kendal’s mayor, Councillor Chris Hogg, successfully secured a deal to open a China office and subsequently run the best of KMF’s film and speaker programmes at three locations throughout October, expanding to six locations in 2016. The tour will also create a platform to showcase the Lake District to a new international market.
Chief executive of the Lake District National Park, Richard Leafe, said: “Our international visitor economy is already strong, but the exposure that the Lake District will gain from the Kendal Mountain Festival tour in China will attract a broader mix of visitors. This, together with the bid for World Heritage status in 2016, has the potential to firmly establish the Lake District as an outdoor activities destination on a global stage.”
The tour will take place in October, visiting Nanxi River (a World Heritage Site), Beijing and culminating in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, which has a population of over 1million and is known as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of China due to its predominantly emerging technology industries. The hope is that by hosting events, such as the KMF, its young and talented residents will be inspired to take part in more outdoor activities in China’s national parks, and stay and support its rapid economic growth.
Steve Scott, director of the Kendal Mountain Festival, said: “We are delighted at the agreement with our new partners in China, fully supported by the regional government and the opportunity this gives Kendal Mountain Events. Having a base in southern China will enable us to quickly develop ‘KMF China’ and subsequently access broader Asian markets to inspire other cultures to share the best that KMF international has to offer.”
Mayor of Kendal, Cllr Chris Hogg said: “I'm delighted that one of Kendal's most successful brands, Kendal Mountain Festival, continues to spread around the world putting Kendal on the global map. I wish the organisers in Nanshan every success and look forward to exploring the potential of furthering relationships in the future.”