Small-group tours company Rabbie’s Small Group Tours aims to boost Chinese tourists to Scotland in a deal with China online travel giant CTrip.

The partnership is expected to be worth £20 million over the next decade.

The Chinese online travel agent is valued at more than $2.8 billion and acquired Edinburgh-based Skyscanner in 2016.

The new deal will see CTrip sell Rabbie’s tours that depart from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, London, and Dublin.

The move ties in with Rabbie’s increased investment in the mandarin-speaking market.

The company hired two employees based in China and two mandarin-speaking tour guides in the past year.

The number of Chinese tourists to Scotland increased 192% between 2007 and 2016. The trend is expected to rise with new direct flights between Beijing and Edinburgh starting this year.

Rabbie’s founder Robin Worsnop said: “This is an exciting development. I visited the CTrip headquarters and received such a warm and friendly welcome.

“I know our company can do the same for anyone who chooses to book our trips to the UK and Ireland through CTrip.”

Speaking following a meeting with CTrip in Shanghai, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I met with CTrip earlier and the company’s investment in Scotland is a great example of collaboration between Scotland and China in the key areas of tourism and the economy.

“I welcome this new partnership between CTrip and Rabbie’s, which will support more Chinese tourists to come to Scotland and create more opportunities to experience our unique combination of history, stunning scenery and world-class culture.”