As China’s president Xi Jinping arrives for a state visit, latest figures show a record number of visitors from China are coming to Britain.
VisitBritain reports that the number of visits from China from April-June this year was up 35 per cent (to 50,000) on the same period in 2014; and comparing the first six months of 2015 to the same period last year the number of visits was up 28 per cent (to 90,000), a record first six months of the year.
Figures also show that seat availability on flights from China up 16 per cent for October 2015, compared to the same month last year.
Overall, international visits to Britain from China have more than doubled over the last five years from 89,000 in 2009 to 185,000 in 2014, with the country becoming one of the UK’s fastest-growing tourism markets.
The number of holiday visits were up by an even faster 48 per cent compared to the first half of 2014 to 40,000 while spending by holiday visitors rose by a similar 43 per cent.
VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “China is the world’s largest outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for Britain.
“Chinese visitors have very positive perceptions of Britain, they already stay longer here than in our European competitor destinations and are high spenders.
“We aim to double the current annual expenditure in the UK by Chinese visitors to £1 billion a year within the next five years.
“We are working hard to make sure that Britain is the destination of choice for the rapidly-growing Chinese market, further increasing their desire to travel here through high-profile campaigns in China, as part of our GREAT campaign.
“The state visit of the president of China Xi Jinping this week, and the accompanying international media exposure and visibility, is a fantastic opportunity for us to inspire more international visitors from China to come and explore all the nations and regions of Britain.”
Chinese visitors are also some of Britain’s highest spending, spending an average of £2,688 each, and four times more than the average.
The total spend of Chinese visitors to Britain in 2014 was £497.47 million.