Both partnerships have been established to attract more Chinese visitors to Britain.
UK Government Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley and VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates, who is leading a tourism delegation of companies from across Britain, has met with senior executives from Hainan Airlines and Alitrip at an event at Madame Tussauds in Shanghai, as part of the fourth UK-China People to People Dialogue.
The event also shone the spotlight on football, with VisitBritain partnering with SuperSports, China’s official Premier League broadcaster, to launch a competition to find China’s biggest Premier League fan with the prize being a VIP football-themed trip to Britain.
UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said:
“The UK is home to world-class museums, fantastic heritage sites and stunning countryside. This partnership between VisitBritain, HNA Group and Alibaba will make it even easier for Chinese tourists to enjoy the wonderful attractions the UK has to offer, and is another example of how we are doing business right across the globe.”
VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said that China, the world’s most valuable outbound market, was a huge tourism opportunity for Britain.
“Britain is packed full of amazing moments and experiences and offering great value for Chinese visitors right now.
“We want to deliver a world-class visitor experience for Chinese customers. Working with commercial partners Hainan Airlines we’re making it easier to travel to Britain through increasing route connectivity and seat-capacity, a crucial part of our competitive tourism offer. And by amplifying our marketing reach in China with Alitrip, showcasing the diversity of experiences and destinations across Britain, we’re converting the inspiration to visit into bookings, driving our ambitious plans for growth.”
Chinese visitors stay longer and travel more widely across Britain than other international visitors, averaging 15 nights compared to eight for other visitors, with more than half of this time spent outside London. They are some of the highest spending visitors to the UK, spending on average £2174 during each visit, more than three times the average visitor. Every 22 additional Chinese visitors that Britain attract supports an additional job in tourism in the UK.
Last year was a record-breaking year for visits from China to the UK with 270,000 visits, 46% up on the year before, with spend up 18% to £586 million – moving China into Britain’s top 10 most valuable inbound markets for the first time.
VisitBritain has ambitions to double spend from Chinese visitors to £1 billion by 2020. It is positioning Britain as the destination of choice for Chinese visitors through its GREAT China Welcome Programme, international GREAT marketing campaigns and annual trade events to China, the most recent and largest held just last month in Shanghai.
Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain for visits and spend with 36.1 million visits, 5% up on 2014, and spending up 1% to £22.1 billion.