The United Kingdom's tourism authority predicts spending from Chinese visitors will increase to 1 billion pounds ($1.22 billion) a year by 2020, up from last year's 657 million pounds, in part because the number of tourists from China continues to surge.
According to VisitBritain, there were 69,000 visits from China to the UK in the Januaryto-March period this year, which beat the previous year's record first quarter by 1 percent. Visitors spent a record 123 million pounds, which was up 28 percent on the previous period.
The report from flight analyst ForwardKeys shows arrivals by air from China between September and November were on course to be 23 percent up on the same period last year.
Patricia Yates, a VisitBritain director, said: "China is the world's most valuable outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for the UK. We want to be top of the list as a must-go-now destination for Chinese travelers and to give them a world-class visitor experience. We are working with partners in the market, including Ctrip and British Airways, to convert the aspiration to visit the UK into actual bookings and making it easier to get here, boosting route development and airline seat capacity."
Visitors from China spent an average of 1,680 pounds each per UK visit in 2018, which was almost three times the overall visitor average. They also stayed longer, with holidaymakers from China staying an average of 16 nights, compared to the all-market average of seven. And while in the UK, they traveled more widely than other visitors.
While in the UK, shopping is the most popular activity for Chinese visitors, followed by dining in restaurants, visiting parks or gardens, and touring museums or galleries. More than a third of Chinese visitors shop in high-end department stores, outlets, and luxury stores.
Chinese visitors are almost three times as likely to buy bags and purses while in the UK than the average visitor, and twice as likely to buy personal accessories. For every 22 visits from China, one job is created in Britain's tourism industry, the authority's research shows.
Yates said: "Increasing the services that visitors experience is also important to our message of welcome, with more businesses making themselves 'China Ready'-whether that is promoting the benefits of implementing Chinese mobile payment capabilities to retailers, hotels, and attractions, providing information in Cantonese or Mandarin, or businesses and tour operators adapting their products for the Chinese market."
The English Premier League is another pull for tourists visiting the UK and VisitBritain's international soccer research shows 92 percent of Chinese fans surveyed intend to visit the UK within the next two years.