China Town London

UK expects boost in Chinese tourist arrivals as Golden Week gets underway

The UK could look forward to a rise in visits from China in the coming week as China National Day and the Golden Week holiday get underway. Golden Week is a prime time of travel for the Chinese and more are choosing to visit the UK than ever.

Forward flight booking data from ForwardKeys shows that flight arrivals from China to the UK for September to November are tracking 23% up on the same period last year. 

The latest official statistics show that there were a record number of visits from China to the UK in the first quarter of 2019. There were 69,000 visits from China to the UK in January to March this year, just beating last year’s record first quarter by 1%, with visitors spending a record £123 million, up 28%

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said, “China is the world’s most valuable outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for the UK. We want to be top of the list as a must-go-now destination for Chinese travelers and to give them a world-class visitor experience. 

“We are working with partners in the market including Ctrip and British Airways to convert the aspiration to visit the UK into actual bookings and making it easier to get here, boosting route development and airline seat capacity. Increasing the services that visitors experience is also important to our message of welcome with more businesses making themselves “China Ready”. Whether that is promoting the benefits of implementing Chinese mobile payment capabilities to retailers, hotels and attractions providing information in Cantonese or Mandarin, or businesses and tour operators adapting their products for the Chinese market. 

“With our shops, visitor attractions and accommodation offering great value for Chinese travelers, it is a great time to book a trip to Britain right now.”

In November VisitBritain will lead a large scale travel trade mission – Destination Britain China and North-East Asia – to Xi’an in central China, bringing out UK tourism companies and destinations to meet and do business with top tour operators from across China, Japan, and South Korea.

Visitors from China spent, on average, £1,680 per visit in the UK in 2018, almost three times the all market average. They also stayed longer, holidaymakers from China stayed an average of 16 nights compared to the all market average of seven, and traveled more widely across the UK than other visitors. 

Shopping is the most popular activity in the UK for visitors from China followed by dining in restaurants, visiting parks or gardens, and museums or galleries. More than a third of Chinese visitors would shop in high-end department stores, outlets and luxury stores on a visit to the UK. Chinese visitors are almost three times as likely to buy bags and purses in the UK than the average visitor and twice as likely to buy personal accessories. 

For every 22 visits from China, one job is created in Britain’s tourism industry. 

VisitBritain has ambitions to increase spend from Chinese visitors to £1 billion annually by 2020. In 2018, visitors from China spent £657 million in the UK. 

VisitBritain is running a campaign to inspire Chinese visitors to travel to the UK and also to discover more by getting off the beaten track, meeting locals, trying a new activity and experiencing British culture. 

Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.

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