Taipei, July 9 (CNA)
Singer-songwriter Jay Chou's wedding early this year has increased interest in a historic estate in England and could help with its preservation, a British daily reported Thursday.
Chou, regarded as one of the biggest pop stars in Asia, married model Hannah Quinlivan Jan. 17 in a wedding in northern England that created a media frenzy in his native Taiwan.
While the wedding itself was held in a small medieval church in the town of Selby, a day-long wedding reception was held at nearby Castle Howard.
Since then, the wedding and its media coverage have sparked a flurry of interest and increased enquiries from Asia-based tour groups to the small part of North Yorkshire where Selby is located.
The 300-year-old Howard estate has reported a surge in the number of tourists and its official website has recorded over 5 million visits since the wedding -- a 400-percent increase, the Telegraph said.
There has also been an influx of wealthy Chinese seeking to experience at first-hand the essence of European and Western antiquities, the daily said on its website.
The phenomenon has reached a point where, upon noticing the significant uptick in tourists, Castle Howard's management unit has made several Asia-friendly changes, the Telegraph said.
Not only are maps and brochures now also available in Chinese, the estate has begun to accept UnionPay cards, a form of payment common in mainland China.
Castle Howard now also has its own special name in Chinese, meaning "Magnificent Asgard."
On Thursday, the owners of Castle Howard plan to auction off nine family treasures and works of art at Sotheby's, the London-based auction house. The aim of the auction is to raise as much as 10 million pounds (approximately NT$47.7 million) for the future maintenance and renovation of the estate.
They also hope that the influence of Chou's stardom will assist in the estate's prestige so that buyers from Asia, where the antique market is known to be strong, can make an impact with their checkbooks.
Castle Howard, a massive country estate built in the 17th century, hosted the couple's celebrations for a day. The venue costs for the estate amounted to at least 23,000 pounds (over NT$1 million), the Independent, a London-based newspaper, reported at the time. (By Chen Pei-yu and Lance Yau)
Taipei, July 9 (CNA)