The British Tourism Board hopes to entice wealthy Chinese to Britain in order to help economic recovery. According to tourism experts, many wealthy Chinese that vacation in Britain do a considerable amount of shopping.
These tourists primarily spend their money on luxury clothes made by a British company founded over 100 years ago. While Chinese tourists buy luxury items in Italy and electronics in Germany, they visit Britain to buy clothing manufactured by Thomas Burberry.
In order to help increase the trend, Britain wants to boost the Chinese image of the country in general. Currently, the British are seen abroad as unwelcoming to visitors that cannot speak English. Some foreign tourists from countries like China, Russian and India have been discouraged from traveling to due to UK’s visa policies.
High end British retailers including Harrod's flew to Beijing after the London Olympics to try to encourage tourism from abroad. In addition, companies like Bicester Village were in attendance. The shopping outlet hopes to encourage tourists to venture outside of London to explore the British countryside. At the present time, most tourists from China tend to stay in London and visit the sites in this city.
Expectations for the new tourism campaign are high. In fact, the tourism board has set a goal of attracting 40 million tourists a year in Britain by the year 2020. This is almost 10 million more people than in 2012.
Currently, tourism amounts to about 10% of the Gross Domestic Product produced yearly by Britain. The industry is also one of the primary ways that brings in foreign money. Financial services as well as chemical products are also very popular British commodities that are purchased by foreign nationals.
Language is a big barrier which needs to be overcome according to experts. Some tourism experts pointed out that other countries are actively courting Chinese tourists by hiring workers that are fluent in Mandarin. For example, some shop clerks in the French Galeries Lafayette speak the language. The French also have hotels where staff speaks Mandarin as well as hotels where Chinese food is served.
The British have been slower to embrace this trend. Currently, some of the high end shops in the West End as well as hotels like the Hilton have begun welcoming Chinese guests. However, the British are still far behind other countries in this respect.
According to statistics, Qatari visitors spend the largest amount of money in Britain during holiday stays. On average, visitors spend over £215 each night and stay on average for 14 days. Those visitors from Kuwait spend about the same amount of money each day, but they typically stay for only 10 to 12 days. Saudis spend over £200 a night and stay about 12 days on a typical vacation. In contrast, American visitors tend to stay about 7 days and spend about £100 each day of their vacation.
Although a recession currently affects much of the world, tourists from France, Germany and Spain account for most of the tourists that visit Britain. However, the number of people visiting the area from countries such as Australia, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates has also increased in recent years.