Figures released on Friday showed that the number of Chinese tourists who visited The Beatles Story, a museum dedicated to the band in their hometown of Liverpool, exceeded visits from tourists from Australia and Germany.
The Beatles shrine attracts some 300,000 worldwide visitors a year, and Chinese tourists made up five percent of those visitors last year—up 1.3 percent from 2012, Xinhua reports.
The number of visitors from China has especially delighted the museum’s director Martin King. “It is just great to see so many visitors from China coming into the Beatles Story. It seems Beatlemania is finally catching on in China.”
“We have noticed a gradual increase in Chinese visitors over the past few years. Our figures show tourists from China have overtaken those from a number of other countries, including Australia and Germany. What is interesting is fans from those two countries have followed the Beatles since those early days. Chinese people are only now discovering the music and talents of the Beatles,” he said.
“Our belief is the number of visitors from China will continue to grow as the UK welcomes more tourists from China as that country’s economic growth continues,” he added.
One Sir Paul McCartney said in a 2008 interview that he was interested in performing in China, three years after he publicly condemned the country for its unethical treatment of animals and vowed that he would never go.
When asked in a radio interview in 2008 where he would like to play next, Sir Paul replied: “I’ve never played in China, I’m kind of interested to see what that’s like. There’s lots of places I’ve never played, but I think China would be the answer.”
The band (sans Ringo) paid a visit to Hong Kong in 1964, but the closest thing Shanghai has seen to a living Beatle was a recorded video message delivered to visitors at the Liverpool stand during the World Expo.
[Image via Wiki Commons]