Chinese tourists could spend £1bn a year in the UK by 2020

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese tourists could spend £1bn a year in the UK by 2020

Related tags: Chinese tourists, England, Tourism

Britain’s tourism industry has welcomed a record number of international visitors this year driven by a surge of interest from the Chinese market.

New research from the Office for National Statistics shows that 90,000 Chinese tourists visited the country in the first half of 2015 alone, a 28 per cent rise on 2014.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said the group was hoping to capitalise on China’s status as the world’s largest outbound tourism market.

“We have ambitions to double the spend from Chinese visitors to £1bn by 2020,” she said.

“Chinese visitors are already some of our highest spending – spending an average £2,688 each per visit."

The number of Chinese tourists visiting London has risen 112 per cent since 2009, contributing £500m annually to the economy.

Oxford Economics anticipates that spending will grow by an additional 77 per cent over the next eight years.

The Government is also aiming to cash in on China's burgeoning middle class by relaxing visa rules for Chinese visitors from next year​.

According to VisitBritain, every 22 Chinese tourists that visit the country create an additional job in the UK tourism sector.

Destination Britain

The figures come as VisitBritain hosts its largest ever tourism mission to China this week.

More than 70 UK hotels, retailers and tour operators are showcasing Britain to Chinese buyers at the annual ‘Destination Britain China’ event in Beijing until 25 November.

Yates said: “Our Destination Britain China event [gives] British travel suppliers the chance to forge valuable business connections with the Chinese travel trade, showcase the latest tourism offerings from their local areas, and ultimately inspire more visitors from China to come to Britain and explore all our nations and regions.”

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