The tourist board has organised a delegation of British organisations visiting Beijing, Shanghai and the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong. The aim of the visit is to “introduce British tourism businesses to key Chinese buyers and ensure the UK capitalises on the world’s third most valuable tourism source market”.
Individual organisations ranging from St Pauls Cathedral to VisitWales make up the 32-strong delegation, with retailers well represented in the form of Harrods, Selfridge’s and McArthur Glen – developer and manager of designer outlet villages across the UK. Australian firm Westfield, owner of nine shopping centres England and Northern Ireland is represented with its Westfield London mall.
The average visitor to the Britain spends around £570 whilst Chinese visitors spend around £1,700, around three times more. With visitor numbers 23 per cent higher this year than last year and a further 23 per cent higher in the first nine months of 2011, forecasts have suggested that Britain has the potential to expect around 300,000 Chinese visitors a year by 2020.
Patricia Yates, Strategy and Communications director for VisitBritain, explained that “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. The recent Nation Brands Index shows that the UK is the number one destination of choice for Chinese travellers, drawn here by our rich culture and heritage.
Yates continued by saying that “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”, unapologetically expressing the mission’s intention to draw in the quickly expanding urban middle class of the focus cities.