Cumbrian tourism leaders are hopeful the latest in a series of trade missions to China will help grow the number of visitors from the country.

Representatives from the English Lake District China Forum were among a delegation of tourism businesses to fly out to the country for the closing ceremony of the EU/ China Tourism Year.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared 2018 as the EU/China Tourism Year in 2016.

The leaders said it would be a year of close co-operation between China and the EU, focused on increasing the number of visitors to European nations, particularly during the off-season and quieter times of year.

Jen Cormack, sales and marketing director for Windermere Lake Cruises, and Colin Fox, group marketing manager for English Lakes Hotels, attended a closing ceremony in Xi’an along with a series of networking events.

This included a matchmaking event in Shanghai, offering pre-arranged meetings with over 75 Chinese tour operators, an event organised by the European Tourism Commission.

The pair used the trip to represent all 19 local businesses which sit on the English Lake District China Forum in a number of visits to operators’ offices.

That was followed by a networking event organised by VisitBritain, which involved more than 90 UK suppliers and nearly 100 buyers and media from across China and North East Asia at the Destination Britain China sales mission.

Jen said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to enhance the cultural understanding between China and the UK and we felt extremely privileged to be at the closing ceremony.

“During our 12-day visit to the three different cities, Colin and I had more than 200 separate meetings with representatives from Chinese tourism companies during business-to-business ‘matchmaking’ events.

“We’re confident our efforts will help to continue our success and drive our appeal to overseas markets even further forward in the coming years."