Malham Cove – one of the most famous features of the Yorkshire Dales National Park – now has a new, distinctly Oriental image. The 70 metre (230ft) high, gently curving cliff of white limestone is among seven Yorkshire and 101 British points of interest that have been given a new name by Chinese people in national tourism agency VisitBritain’s new ‘GREAT names for GREAT Britain’ campaign.
In China it is popular to give names to favourite celebrities, places and foods that give a literal description of what Chinese people think about these things. For example, Stonehenge is called Ju Shi Zhen (Huge stone clusters) while the Beatles were renamed Pi Tou Shi (gentlemen with long hair).
VisitBritain has invited Chinese consumers to come up with the most fitting, amusing and memorable names in Mandarin for some of Britain’s best loved attractions.
And in the run up to the Chinese New Year on Thursday (February 19) – the Year of the Sheep – it has announced that the favourite for Malham Cove is ‘White cliff with water crossed’. Two other names that have been put forward are ‘White cliff reborn in fire’ and ‘Vast white cliff spreading miles’.
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chairman Peter Charlesworth said: “It is fantastic that a feature of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is being looked at and talked about in China. The country has a huge pool of tourists and anything that can tempt them to come here in the future can only be good for our communities.
“Latest figures show there were 196,000 visits to Britain from China in 2013 – contributing £492 million to the UK’s economy. While some Chinese visitors do come to the National Park now, we would like to have more – it would be good for the economy of our communities and would help yet again to showcase this fantastic countryside to the world.”
Malham Cove joins Fountains Abbey, Castle Howard, Brimham Rocks, Harrogate, Whitby and the Shambles in York to be selected to feature in the campaign, which aims to attract more visitors from the rapidly-growing Chinese tourism market and to encourage them to travel further afield around Britain.
Joss Croft, Marketing Director at VisitBritain, said: “The campaign has given Malham Cove huge exposure across China and the opportunity to create a unique affinity with potential Chinese tourists. We hope its new Mandarin name raises its profile and enables it to compete effectively for the world’s biggest outbound market, which will deliver local growth and jobs across the National Park.”
Members of an independent judging panel – which includes a leading Chinese journalist, celebrity and language expert – are now sifting through the suggestions received before picking the overall winning names next month (March).