Forward flight booking data from ForwardKeys shows that arrivals from China to the UK for September to November are tracking 23% up on the same period last year.
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 travellers and to give them a world-class visitor experience.
“We are working with partners in 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.”
Next month 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, for an average of 16 nights compared with the all market average of seven, and travelled more widely across the UK than other international visitors.