Chinese actress Yong Mei has been cast in a new role, performing as ‘Official Chinese Ambassador of Tourism in Edinburgh’.
Ms Mei, who was installed during a ceremony at the City Chambers, has enjoyed a television and film career spanning over 20 years. In 2019, she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival for her performance in the film So Long, My Son directed by Wang Xiaoshuai.
The ceremony included speeches from Lord Provost of Edinburgh Frank Ross and Chinese Consul General Pan Xinchun. Yong Mei was then presented with an official certificate of appointment and a gift of diamond jewellery by Richard Laing, director of Laings the Jeweller, a founder partner of the Edinburgh Tourism in Action Group China Ready project.
Ms Mei is in Edinburgh to film three short travel programmes about the city with China’s leading online video-streaming platform iQIYI. The series will showcase a range of locations in Edinburgh, and is expected to receive millions of views when aired later this year.
She said “It’s a great honour for me to be named as the Chinese Ambassador of Tourism in Edinburgh. The unique history and culture of Edinburgh has always held a deep fascination for me.
“I am delighted to visit Edinburgh as the Chinese Ambassador of Tourism, and to discover more about the city. I am looking forward to promoting cultural exchanges between China and Scotland.”
Robin Worsnop, chairman of ETAG commented: “We are honoured to name Ms. Yong Mei as Official Chinese Ambassador of Tourism in Edinburgh. Yong Mei is a well-respected, sophisticated actress, as such she is a perfect fit for Edinburgh.
“Her visit is a great example of how Edinburgh businesses are working together through the China Ready Project to build Edinburgh’s Chinese visitor market and ETAG would like to thank our partners for working with us to make this visit possible, Kimpton Charlotte Square, Waldorf Astoria, Laings the Jeweller, The Scotch Whisky Experience, National Museum of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery, Mercat Tours, Hamilton & Inches, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh Zoo.”
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “As an award-winning actress, Ms Yong Mei is a fantastic fit for ETAG’s leading role.
“Edinburgh is increasingly renowned across the world as an excellent destination for film and, following recent productions like Outlander and Avengers, we have experienced first-hand Edinburgh’s ‘seen on screen’ tourism appeal.
“As Official Tourism Ambassador for Edinburgh and China, I’m looking forward to working with Ms Yong Mei and ETAG on further strengthening our city’s strong ties with the people, businesses and investors of China.”
Scottish tourism from China has seen steady growth over the past decade, and a 22% YOY increase in Chinese visitor numbers to the UK is expected this year by VisitBritain. Edinburgh’s Chinese visitor numbers are forecast to exceed 200,000 per annum for the first time this year; with the potential to overtake US visitors by 2025.
The ceremony comes days ahead of the second annual Scotland China Ready Tourism Conference, taking place on 11 June at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria.