SCOTS hoteliers are being told to provide Pot Noodles in rooms to make growing numbers of Chinese tourists feel at home.
The number of Chinese tourists making their way to Scotland has skyrocketed in recent years, with the emergence of a new middle class and super-rich elite.
Now Scots hotels are being given lessons on how to make the most of the visitors – who spend more than any other nationality, including Americans and Russians.
As well as recommending that Pot Noodles be provided as minibar snacks, hoteliers are also being told that they should make more allowances for lateness, in line with Chinese custom.
The seminars are being led by Scottish Development International (SDI)
Graeme White – head of tourism with the quango – said: “In recent years China has become the largest outbound travel market in the world.
“Chinese people are coming to Scotland in increasing numbers, and they are getting more and more adventurous but they are still not getting to see all that we have to offer.
“There are a lot of little things that businesses can do to make them feel more at home.”
He went on to suggest that Pot Noodles should be supplied alongside the customary tea and coffee sets in rooms.
He explained: “Providing in-room Pot Noodles is one practical way to support Chinese guests.
“One of the challenges that we were made aware of was that Chinese visitors were going to shops, buying noodles and heating them in kettles in their hotel rooms.
“If there are noodles already there, it makes life easier for everyone. The Chinese visitors will be happier and the hoteliers won’t have to spend as much time cleaning kettles.”
He also suggested that those in hospitalist relax their attitude to lateness, saying: “We suggest they are a bit more flexible in terms of timekeeping.
“If Chinese people are going out for dinner and book a table for 8pm they don’t expect to turn up at 8.30pm to find their table has been given to someone else.
“The don’t have the same clock-watching culture as we do.”
Companies are also being urged to considering printing signs and menus in Mandarin.
Mr White went on: “Chinese people love Edinburgh and its history and there is a growing affection for golf and whisky. They also love everything to do with Harry Potter.
“In addition, more than 8,000 Chinese people are now studying at Scottish universities.”
Fiona Alexander, international senior executive with SDI, said that there was also now a greater demand for advice on how to deal with Chinese customers.
She said: “I’m working with a lot of the larger companies in Edinburgh and Glasgow. I hear:
‘We had this group of Chinese visitors and made a complete mess of it. There were cultural faux pas.
“There’s a demand for this level of information.”
Ministers and industry leaders are due to attend a China-Britain Business Council meeting in Glasgow today.
Paul Lewis – managing director of SDI – said: “Scotland’s exports to China have more than doubled since 2007 and are currently worth £530m.
“It’s a growing market with huge potential for Scottish businesses.”
Figures from Edinburgh castle showed that the number of Chinese visitors to the attraction trebled in three years to more than 150,000 in 2015.