International singer-songwriter Wanting Qu, the official Tourism Vancouver Ambassador to China, is leading four lucky fans on an all-expenses paid vacation around Vancouver and Whistler this week.
The trip begins on Friday, May 9 when Wanting will personally greet her fans at Vancouver International Airport. Their once-in-a-lifetime experience is the result of a Tourism Vancouver contest and marketing campaign that received 30 million hits on the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.
"It's a dream come true for me to tour my fans around Vancouver," said Wanting, a native of the Chinese city of Harbin who first came to Vancouver as a teenager to study and has made the city her second home. "I love Vancouver and it has transformed me into the singer-songwriter I am today. I want to show my fans the stories behind the songs they love and the place that inspired them."
The four fans hail from Zhengzhou, Beijing, Lijiang and Guangzhou, and all are travelling outside of China for the first time. During the five-day trip they will get to experience signature Vancouver activities and attractions including FlyOver Canada, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours, Granville Island, The Aquabus, Harbour Cruises and a Sewell's Marina Sea Safari. They will also visit Whistler for one night. Two Chinese media outlets will be travelling with them.
"When Wanting called me to tell me I had won the contest, the moment was exhilarating," said 26-year-old Wang Fei from China's Henan Province. "I am looking forward to everything in Vancouver because it is full of mysteries to me and to spending time with Wanting who has a radiant personality."
China is Vancouver's fastest growing international tourism market with overnight visitors projected to number 208,123 in 2014, an increase of 15% over 2013.
"China is now Vancouver's second largest international travel market after the United States," commented Stephen Pearce, Tourism Vancouver's vice president of Leisure Travel and Digital Marketing. "This year, China will surpass both the United Kingdom and Australia in terms of overnight tourism arrivals to Vancouver. Our marketing strategy in China is to focus on high-end independent and incentive travel, in concert with our hotel partners, Vancouver International Airport, VIA Rail, Whistler, Victoria, Canadian Tourism Commission and Sichuan Airlines."
Wanting Qu was named Tourism Vancouver's Ambassador to China in 2013. Since then, she has been active in promoting Vancouver by starring in a series of videos that have been viewed over five million times.
Wanting's 2012 debut album on Nettwerk Records, Everything In The World exploded in Asia. Her smash single "You Exist In My Song" raked in more than 100 million combined video views, was the number one radio single in China for eight consecutive weeks and received over 10 awards. The album itself was certified six-times Platinum and received 15 Best New Artist Awards across Asia. Wanting's sophomore album Say The Words (2013) debuted at number one in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia, and shot to number one on QQ, a Beijing-based music streaming service boasting more than 780 million members.
Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists.