British tourism taps into Chinese market

A high powered tourism delegation led by VisitBritain will visit China this week to introduce British tourism businesses to key Chinese buyers and ensure the UK capitalises on the world’s third most valuable tourism source market.

The China Mission will take in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, where a series of business to business appointments will help capture business from the rapidly growing urban middle class and the estimated 535,000 High Net Worth individuals. It is the largest mission to be taken to China by VisitBritain.

The delegation will include 32 organisations, including national and regional tourist boards, city and tourist attraction organisations, hotel groups and specialist tour operators. Emphasising the importance of our Chinese visitors to the retail sector, six major retail groups, including department stores Selfridges and Harrods, Westfield London, Bicester Village, McArthur Glen and the Bloomsbury Group (owner of luxury boutiques such as House of Hanover and House of Cashmere) are taking part in the mission.


Spending on foreign travel has increased four-fold over the past decade and China is fast emerging as one the most valuable source markets for international business. The average Chinese visitor to Britain spends around £1,700 more than three times the global average (£567). We are also seeing strong growth from the Chinese market - visitor numbers increased by 23% last year and by a further 23% in the first nine months of this year. Forecasts suggest that by 2020 Britain could be welcoming almost 300,000 visitors a year.

VisitBritain’s Strategy and Communication Director, Patricia Yates said: “This will be the largest ever delegation of British tourism businesses to journey to China, an indication of how important the market is to Britain as we reach a crucial time for tourism.

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“The recent Nation Brands Index shows that the UK is the number one ‘aspirational’ destination for Chinese travellers, drawn here by our rich culture and heritage. Missions such as this allow us to showcase the range of experiences that Britain has to offer and are essential if Britain is to compete effectively for the growing number of affluent Chinese travellers. It is an exciting prospect and we look forward to welcoming a record number of visitors over the coming years.”