London hotels struggle to attract Chinese tourists

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

London hotels struggle to attract Chinese tourists

Related tags: Chinese tourists, Europe, Want

London’s luxury hotels are falling behind the rest of Europe by failing to attract high-spending Chinese tourists, according to a report by the British Hospitality Association (BHA).

The Think Tank Luxury Travel study warns that the capital’s high-end hotels need to be more ‘proactive’ in order to keep up with foreign competitors.

While France welcomes over 1m visitors from China per year, the UK only receives 328,000 visitor applications.

Chinese travellers are some of the highest spending tourists to the UK, splashing out an an average of £2,688 each.

But while tourists can apply for a Schegen visa to visit 26 European countries, visitors must request a separate visa to enter the UK.

Budget chain Travelodge has already opened its first hotel​ targeted at Chinese tourists, but the BHA says more hotels need to act to encourage visitors to cross the Channel.

BHA member David Morgan-Hewitt, who is managing director of The Goring hotel, said: “London is the greatest city in the world but it’s lagging behind its European neighbours in terms of attracting Chinese tourists and it’s time to take action.

“Hoteliers want to capitalise on what is likely to be a much more mature market in five or ten years’ time, but we need to be proactive today.”

The extra mile

The BHA study found that hotels offering Chinese TV stations, welcoming letters in Chinese, and Chinese beer and noodles in mini-bars helped attract visitors.

It also encouraged hotels to employ staff with language skills and be more willing to accept a range of credit cards.

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

But Oxford Economics anticipates that spending could grow by a further 77 per cent by 2023.

Tourism agency VisitBritain has set a target to double Chinese visitor spending​ to reach £1bn a year by 2020.

Related topics: Business, Hotels

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