It's China's "Golden Week".
Which means that China’s twice-a-year seven-day national holiday is under-way.
For each week-day of China’s Golden Week, the BHA will bring you a new fact about Chinese tourism, and the importance of this week, in China and beyond. Follow @BHATweets for updates!
The Golden Weeks are periods of greatly heightened travel activity, as people make the most of the full seven days to travel to see new and familiar faces and places.
This translates as more long-distance journeys being made - more flights being booked and more hotels being stayed in - which has certainly boosted the UK’s hospitality and tourism industry, according to latest figures.
A Brief History
The Golden Week is a national holiday first introduced by China’s government to help expand the domestic tourism market and improve the national standard of living. It also gives people the chance to make long-distance family visits.
Saturday marks China’s National Day, which first started in 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was inaugurated. The official victory celebration and ceremony was held in Tian-anmen Square. Today a number of special ceremonies mark the occasion.
Spend, spend, spend
And what best to do with all that extra time? When not travelling to exotic destinations both at home and abroad, people are shopping according to recent statistics. Wealthy Chinese tourists will choose to go abroad, possibly taking full advantage of overseas currency fluctuations, to indulge in some serious retail therapy.
Bargain hunters are likely to flock to the UK, where department stores and luxury shops will be expecting to sell more goods this week. The twice-yearly Golden Week is likely to bring in more tourists attracted to the UK’s world-famous shopping – particularly in London where areas such as Oxford Street and Mayfair hold a particular international appeal.
In 2015 China entered the top 10 UK markets, following a long and vigorous campaign from the BHA and partners UKCVA to overhaul the Chinese visa system. The new ‘one-stop shop’ in place aims to simplify administration, thus making the UK a more accessible destination. This translates as more footfall in our shops!
BHA China's 'Golden Week' Series
Weekday Fact 1: China is one of the UK’s top ten markets
China entered the top 10 UK markets in 2015. During this year, visits from China accounted for almost two in every three visits, according to statistics from VisitBritain. That's 64%!
Chinese tourists are also spending more. In 2015 they spent a total of £586 million, making up 3% of the UK's total.
Weekday Day 2: By 2023 China will be the largest outbound tourism economy in the world
It's important that the UK makes every effort to welcome Chinese tourism to the country, as by 2023 it will be the largest outbound tourism economy in the world.
Last year the BHA welcomed news of the government's pilot with Belgium to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit the UK, streamlining the Chinese visa application process.
The UK has been losing out on an estimated £1.2 billion per annum because it attracts far fewer Chinese tourists than our major European neighbours.
Weekday Day 3: Last year saw the introduction of a new visa application process for Chinese visitors with Schengen
2015 saw both the introduction of a new streamlined visa application process for Chinese visitors and - an increase in Chinese travellers coming to the UK.
The future for Chinese tourism
Watch this space for updates on Chinese tourism and what the future holds, as China’s Golden Week progresses!
Keep an eye on @BHATweets for more...