China is London's fastest-growing tourism market

By ANGUS McNEICE | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-09-05 11:41

The number of visitors London attracts from China is expected to double to 330,000 by 2025, according to forecast issued by the office of the UK capital's mayor.

London hosted 160,000 tourists from China in 2016, according to London & Partners, the Mayor of London's official promotional agency.

The predicted 103-percent rise means China is set to become London's fastest-growing major tourism market, followed by India which is expected to rise by 90 percent and the US and the United Arab Emirates which are both projected to grow by 43 percent.

Chinese visitors' spending in London is also set to rise 129 percent from 218.5 million pounds ($283 million) last year to an estimated 500.7 million pounds in 2025. Each Chinese visitor spends an average of about 1,800 pounds during their stay in London, twice the 900-pound-per-week gross weekly household income in London.

Speaking at a launch event for London's Autumn tourism season, the city's Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "Chinese visitors-tourists, students, entrepreneurs, and business people -are so important to London being the great city that we are." "I welcome the contribution that Chinese men and women make to our great city," he added.

Goldman Sachs Research predicts that the number of Chinese passport holders will increase by 100 million over the next decade.

World Bank Departures data also shows rapid growth in China's outbound travelers, from 2.4 annual departures per 100 people in 2005 to 8.5 per 100 in 2015.

Khan was promoting a series of events being held across London over the coming months as part of its Autumn calendar.

These include the West End opening of hit musical Hamilton; the Museums at Night Festival; the MTV European Music Awards; and the return of the NFL at the Wembley and Twickenham stadiums.

A fifth of all Chinese visitors to London in 2016 arrived between October and December. Over half arrived in the Summer quarter, and around 14 percent arrived in both the Winter and Spring quarters.

Khan also announced the launch of A Tourism Vision for London, a new long-term campaign to promote the capital.

London & Partners will collaborate with 100 industry leaders, including Gatwick Airport and Hilton Hotels, to attract more first-time visitors, boost visitor numbers in off-peak periods and harness technology to engage tourists.

Promotional efforts targeting Chinese tourists last year saw record growth in visitor numbers at some of London's attractions.

The Royal Museums Greenwich-which include the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, the Royal Observatory, and 19th Century tea vessel the Cutty Sark -saw a 78 percent year-on-year increase of Chinese visitors in June 2017, following a campaign promoting the museums in China in 2016.

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