Chinese outbound tourists have washed over destinations such as France and the United States, but they are yet to fully capitalize on the UK tourism market. Despite widespread interest — bordering on obsession between some urban Chinese — in Britain, a protracted back-and-forth over the country’s visa policy continues to limit Chinese entries.
Presently, it is estimated that British tourism and retail organizations is losing some £1.2 billion (US$1.9 billion) a year from Chinese tourists who travel elsewhere due to visa red tape.
VisitBritain pointed out that about 61% of the Chinese tourists decided not to visit the UK did because the visa process frustrated them.
VisitBritain however has estimated a projected 113# increase in the number of Chinese travellers (excluding Hong Kong) over the next eight years – thanks to the outbound travel growth. Also, by 2020, the UK will see the footfall of around 300,000 Chinese tourists.
In an effort to bring in more Europe-bound Chinese tourists, the UK is now mulling over a new plan to streamline its visa application process. As per the reports, a proposal was submitted to the UK Border Agency involving an idea for “dual processing” of British and Schengen applications. As a proposed part of the new visa rule, Chinese applicants would only have to submit a single form to receive both UK and Schengen visas.