Why are Chinese tourists a golden opportunity all year round

Golden Week, one of China’s biggest national holidays, has finished. It’s time for UK businesses to tally up the spending of thousands of Chinese tourists. But the benefit of Chinese visitors to Britain hasn’t ended along with Golden Week. Tourists are a year-round opportunity for UK businesses, thanks to their eagerness to travel and their taste for expensive luxury goods.

We take a look at why you should be targeting Chinese tourists all year round.

UK government determined to tap into lucrative China market

VisitBritain, said 196,000 Chinese visitors arrived the country in 2013, spending an average 2,508 pounds each – four times the overall average spend by foreign visitors to Britain. London is the most popular long haul destination for them, and the UK government are firmly committed to encouraging more Chinese people to visit. They have introduced new measures to make the visa process simpler, following criticism from Beijing that the previous version was too complicated and lacked transparency. There is now a new service to grant visas to Chinese visitors within 24 hours. Beginning on 11 August 2014 , the British Embassy in Beijing announced a 24-hour “super priority” visa service to Chinese visitors applying in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. The service, at 600 pounds (US$1,019), is open to all business, family and general visitors who have evidence of a good travel record to the UK, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or 26 other European countries within the last five years.

Lucrative the world over

In 2013 Chinese tourists overseas spent $128.7billion, and around £650 on average on foreign high streets. The growth in spending represents a 26.8% year-on-year growth. Almost one in every ten international tourists is Chinese, and collectively they made around 48million outward-bound journeys for leisure purposes in 2013. Previously, Chinese travellers preferred a guided tour, such as a coach trip that took them through several places in a few days. However, a third of Chinese tourists are now organising their own holidays, and subsequently they are staying for longer and spending more in each of their destinations. 80% of Chinese tourists say that shopping is a vital aspect of their travel plans (source: The Economist).

Chinese tourists to contribute £1billion to UK economy by 2017

With an expanding middle class, who are enjoying larger disposable incomes, China is seeing a boom in tourists going overseas. With a taste for luxury and a tendency to splash their cash, Chinese tourists contributed £549million to the UK economy in 2013. Over the next four years, this is expected to increase by 84% to £1billion by 2017, a report commissioned by Barclays. Much more likely to purchase luxury goods – in particular designer handbags, shoes, watches, and expensive accessories – Chinese visitors spend more on retail in the UK than any other group.

Chinese tourism set for major growth over coming years

The growth in popularity of overseas tourism in China is not a blip but the start of a predicted steady growth. Despite the fact that Chinese tourists come to the UK in such large numbers and spend a lot of money, only 5% of the Chinese population owns passports. The number of visitors and the high spend is partly coming from repeat visitors, although it is anticipated that the number of overseas trips made by the Chinese will double by 2020. Shops and businesses across the globe are racing to make themselves as Chinese-friendly as they can. If the predictions are accurate, their effort will be well rewarded.

(Image source: “Visa Application Approved Stamp” | www.freedigitalphotos.net)