This week at Idea Foundry we are ready to welcome Chinese visitors on the city’s first non-stop charter flight from Shanghai to Pittsburgh. This flight is the culmination of months and even years of hard work between partners: VisitPittsburgh, the Pittsburgh International Airport, Idea Foundry and our Chinese partners CAISSA Touristic and China Eastern Airlines.
Behind the scenes Pittsburgh has been preparing to be welcoming for these as well as other Chinese visitors to Pittsburgh. This week our resident China expert and Manager of China Initiatives, Yiqun Sun, took to the streets with VisitPittsburgh to see if Pittsburghers were ready to greet Chinese travelers and taught them some basic phrases such as “Ni hao” which means hello and “Xie xie” which means thank you.
If you really want to get adventurous, you can try “Huanying lai Pitzbao!” which means “Welcome to Pittsburgh!” (If you are wondering how that works, “Pitzbao” is the closest translation of “Pittsburgh” by sound into Mandarin.) You can check out this video to see how well Pittsburghers did learning these phrases.
Earlier this year, we worked with VisitPittsburgh and Guest Service Solutions to provide "101" and "202" levels of training on Chinese culture and best practices to members of the service and hospitality industries. The enthusiasm of the participants and other representatives of these industries to be respectful of cultural differences, and eager to learn has been present throughout. Openness to learning about different cultures goes a long way to make visitors feel welcome, whether it be the Chinese travelers on the charter flight or anyone else. Between the coordination of the partners in making sure visitors see the best that Pittsburgh has to offer and the eagerness of Pittsburghers across the board to be welcoming, we can truly say that Pittsburgh is ready to host and welcome guests from China.