20% increase in number of Chinese tourists to UK

New figures from the Office of National Statistics’ Passenger Survey has revealed that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK rose by 20 per cent in the last year, with 179,000 visitors spending a total of £300 million.

The UK has seen a recent boost in popularity from Chinese tourists, but it is important to note that such visitors did not make the top ten countries. Tourists from the US led the pack, spending £2.44 billion in the year, whilst France followed in second, with 3.8 million tourists spending £1.5 billion. This was a 30 per cent increase compared to 2011. Other countries on the list include Germany at third (£1.22 billion), Spain at sixth (£776 million), and Switzerland rounding up the ten (£547 million). Generally, there were no major changes in the list of the top ten countries in 2011.

In total, £18.6 billion was spent by tourists in the UK, most likely boosted by the London 2012 Olympic Games. VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said: “Our task now is to ensure we build on the image boost of the 2012 Games to attract an even greater number of visitors this year and beyond. By 2020, the UK could welcome 40 million overseas visitors a year, contributing £31.5 billion annually to the economy.”

The year also saw a rise of nine per cent in domestic tourism, with £19.5 billion being spent nationally. However, it was not all good news as visitor numbers stayed similar to 2011 and overnight trips had fallen by 0.5 per cent. James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive, did argue that the bad weather last year may have had a part to play in these results.

Ministers will hope that various campaigns will be able to develop local economies whilst also creating growth, profits and hospitality jobs across the UK in the next few years.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing hospitality employment solutions.