London's luxury retailers are hoping to attract more of China's newly wealthy visitors.
20 February 2012
UK visa call for Chinese tourists
The American government last week outlined plans to attract more Chinese tourists after calls from American business owners and tourist organisations. Now, similar calls are being made by British companies for the UK to capitalise on China's new wealth by loosening UK visa restrictions.
As Europe's economy battles to remain afloat, China's economy continues to grow faster than any other in the world and, as its citizens venture abroad for the first time, many countries are keen to provide them with the luxuries and experiences they seek. America has been the first to make changes in order to accommodate Chinese tourists and now Britain has also announced its intention to adjust UK visa restrictions to attract more Chinese tourists.
China's new wealthy tourists reportedly consider the UK second only to America as their 'dream destination' but due to visa restrictions, many have chosen France as an easier destination, who granted nine times as many tourist visas to Chinese citizens than Britain last year.
Now, retail and tourism chiefs have been asked to investigate current UK immigration practises in an attempt to find ways of increasing the number of tourist visas granted and reducing processing times.
Harold Tillman, council chairman of the British Fashion Council said: "We're going to cut through the difficulties the Chinese are undertaking to obtain a visa to this country.
"There is a percentage, multi-billion pounds worth of more shopping we can create here."
Chinese tourists have been shown to spend more than any other nationality while on holiday. The average cost of a single transaction by a Chinese tourist in London between January and October 2011 was over £1,000, more than 10 times that of a British shopper.
British businesses are already adapting to welcome their new wealthy customers with many introducing facilities to process Chinese credit card as well as learning traditional customs such as returning credit cards with two hands.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.