VisitBritain, the national destination marketing organization for the U.K., has formed a partnership with Chinese tech giant Tencent on Tuesday to promote tourism through the popular 3D racing game “QQ Speed.”
Marketing director for Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group, Xinglun Liu, said that the agreement shows the influence video games have on youth. He also said that he hopes the game will help Chinese gamers learn more about other cultures.
The goal of the partnership is to inspire players to visit the U.K. through different racecourses destinations within the country, according to a VisitBritain press release. In addition, QQ Speed’s main character “Little Mandarin” has been appointed a goodwill ambassador for the British tourism agency.
The race courses in the game, however, are not actual locations in the U.K. The two courses look like castle and seaside villages in the country, but are not named British destinations.
VisitBritain hopes that the game can attract a whole new Chinese demographic to a country that’s already seen a 19 percent year-on-year increase in Chinese tourists in the first half of 2018.
The mobile game is similar to Nintendo’s internationally popular Mario Kart. In January, QQ Speed was the sixth most popular mobile game worldwide on Apple iOS and Google Play.
While no other destination marketing campaign has partnered with an already-popular mobile game yet, one airline went to the trouble of creating their own game when Air New Zealand unveiled a virtual reality game called “Air New Zealand Facto or Fantasy Game of New Zealand” in October. Set in a magical version of New Zealand, the “multiplayer spatial computing gaming experience” was specifically created as a way to promote tourist travel to the country.
Like Air New Zealand’s campaign, it’s too soon to tell whether VisitBritain’s video game marketing will entice gamers to book trips. Most travel industry players that have used basic online games to attract tourists have offered benefits to players, usually with offers of discounts or prizes. Air France, for example, recently offered customers prizes for playing a simple game through WeChat.