Could the UK be set for a further increase in Chinese visitors?

UK tourism business could be set for an increase in Chinese visitors after VisitBritain opened a new office in China to promote Britain as the “destination of choice”.

National tourism body VisitBritain opened its office in Guangzhou on August 17th with sole aim of attracting more Chinese visitors to Britain.

The Guangzhou office will work closely with VisitBritain’s teams in Beijing and Shanghai to promote Britain to Chinese visitors through international marketing campaigns, annual trade events and theGREAT China Welcome Programme which helps UK tourism businesses appeal to visitors from China.

VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe welcomed the office opening.

“China is the world’s largest outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for Britain, last year moving into our top 10 most valuable inbound markets for the first time,” she said.

“The new office in Guangzhou will magnify our reach in China as we position Britain at the top of the list of ‘must go now’ destinations for Chinese visitors by showcasing the breadth of experiences on offer across the country – from shopping in our world-class boutiques and department stores to touring the countryside and visiting iconic locations from film and literature.”

Visits to Britain from China ‘up by 46%’

Recent developments to promote the UK’s competitive tourism offer in China include the launch of the first direct airline route from Beijing to Manchester in June, operated by Hainan Airlines, as well as the new visitor visa pilot scheme for Chinese nationals introduced in January by the UK Government.

In May VisitBritain signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the HNA Group, to mark the start of a partnership to attract more visitors from China to the UK.

Last year was a record-breaker for inbound tourism to Britain from China with visits up 46 per cent on 2014 to 270,000, and spend up 18% to £586 million.

Chinese visitors are some of the UK’s highest spending, they also stay longer and travel more widely across Britain than other international visitors. VisitBritain has ambitions to double spend from Chinese visitors to £1 billion by 2020.

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