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UK banking on Chinese tourism with new visa extension

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Prime Minister David Cameron has declared that the UK will extend multiple-entry visas for Chinese visitors to two years from six months.

The move was announced during the ongoing UK visit of China President Xi Jinping and reiterates Britain’s commitment to attracting wealthy Chinese tourists.

The number of Chinese visitors to the UK increased by 28 per cent (year-on-year) in the first six months of 2015 and Chinese visitors are also some of Britain’s highest spending, shelling out an average of £2,688 each, per visit.

Despite this, Britain lags several European rivals in attracting Chinese visitors. Efforts to boost these figures have been hampered by the various visa complications that have arisen due to UK falling outside of the Schengen Area – whereby one visa enables Chinese visitors to travel around the whole of continental Europe.

The new visa extension is the UK’s latest in a long line of initiatives to overcome these issues and attract more Chinese tourists, following on from home secretary Theresa May’s single visa pilot announced in June.

“China is becoming one of our fastest-growing tourism markets so making it easier and more convenient for Chinese visitors to come to the UK is extremely important,” said David Cameron.

“That is why the announcement I’m making today is great news for our tourism industry and great news for the British economy enabling us to maximise Chinese spending power even further.”

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Prime Minister David Cameron has declared that the UK will extend multiple-entry visas for Chinese visitors to two years from six months.
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