New Report outlines UK Travel Industry’s Multi-Million £ Opportunity

A new report from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), commissioned by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide, identifies UK actions needed to attract a bigger share of the lucrative in-bound Chinese tourism market. Of an estimated 3 million Chinese visitor trips to Europe in 2010, only around 127,000 came to the UK. With numbers predicted to rise to 240,000 by 2014 1, the UK is lagging behind its European neighbours Italy, France and Germany, which are currently attracting between 500,000 and 700,000 Chinese visitors each per year.

More travellers to Europe come from China than any other country in Asia. It is estimated that Chinese travellers will spend £34.8 billion in Europe in 2011, a rise of 14.6 percent over the previous year and on track to reach more than £60 billion in total by 2015. The current government target is to increase in-bound tourism revenue by 5 percent over the next 10 years; being aggressive in attracting the Chinese is one of the biggest opportunities for growth.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive, VisitBritain said: “Chinese visitor numbers to the UK have been steadily rising over the last few years, but we can clearly do more to attract an even greater number. China has a rich cultural heritage of its own and according to the latest Nations Brand Index, now has a far better understanding of British culture, our people and what they can experience when they are here. We must build on this and ensure the industry develops products that meet the needs, tastes and desires of Chinese travellers.”

The Chinese spend an average total spend of £202 per night, and can spend more than £600 in one shopping trip, which is on average more than Russian, Arab or Japanese travellers2,. British luxury fashion house Burberry has reported that 30 percent of the sales in its UK stores were to Chinese customers and a recent report from London Luxury stated that Chinese shoppers spent £200 million in the Bond Street area alone in 2010, an increase of 155 percent on 2009.

“If we could increase the appeal of Britain - in line with where our European competitors are right now - this would help generate nearly £1 billion from Chinese visitors every year.” Dawe continued.

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