Hospitality and tourism is a major export industry and should be nurtured as such. Improving on visa access for tourists and business people alike is absolutely critical to allow more people into the country. And that means we also need faster decision making on additional runway space. We must also continue to ask for a lower rate of tourism VAT to compete in Europe on a level playing field.
As a result of lobbying, the BHA has helped to achieve positive changes to the visa application process for Chinese visitors. However, more needs to be done and the BHA will continue to campaign on this issue until visa reform has been achieved which means we can welcome many more overseas visitors to our shores.
Three ways to boost Chinese visitor numbers:
- Reform the tourist visa application process
- Deliver an efficient tax refund process at all UK airports
- Provide a warm welcome with Chinese language signage at London airports
In 2012 only 149,000 Chinese visitors came to the UK. Five times more visited Australia, which has a longer flight time. Until the UK government improves the access to the UK for Chinese tourists our ability to bring groups here is limited.
Ning Ning Yu, President, China International Travel Service