British tourism set for Chinese New Year bonanza

British tourism set for Chinese New Year bonanza

Britain could expect a boost in visits from China as Chinese New Year gets underway from Saturday.

Chinese New Year is a prime time of travel for the Chinese and Britain is gearing up to host some of the largest celebrations outside Asia.

Events include dragon parades in Manchester, lion dances in Birmingham and festivals and events in London’s China Town, Glasgow, Newcastle, Cumbria and the Isle of Wight to name a few.

Latest flight booking data shows that bookings from China to the UK were up 81 per cent for January 2017 compared to the same month last year, and up 43 per cent for January to March this year.

China is the world’s most valuable outbound tourism market and VisitBritain has announced partnerships with Hainan Airlines and Alitrip, Alibaba Group’s tourism arm, to drive growth in visits from China.

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VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Britain is offering great value for Chinese visitors right now. This is traditionally one of the busiest travel times for Chinese travellers and we want Britain to be top of their list as a must-go now destination.

“Working with commercial partners Hainan Airlines we’re making it easier to travel to Britain through increasing regional route connectivity and seat capacity.

“And by amplifying our marketing reach in China with Alitrip, showcasing the diversity of experiences and destinations across Britain, we’re converting the inspiration to visit into bookings, driving our ambitious plans for growth.”

Chinese visitors are some of the UK’s highest spenders, spending on average £2,174 during their visit, more than three and a half times the average. 

As of the end of December 2016, Britain was 11 per cent more affordable for visitors from China compared with the same month in 2015 – following the slump in the value of the pound after the Brexit referendum.