Business / Industries

UK welcome mat for Chinese tourists

By Li Wenfang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-14 08:58

UK welcome mat for Chinese tourists 

Chinese tourists shop at Harrods department store in London. Chinese shoppers have become the biggest consumers of luxury goods in the world, accounting for 29 percent of global consumption. AFP 

The simplification of the visa process for Chinese visitors to the United Kingdom could cause spending by this consumer group in London to go up by 141 percent, to 500 million pounds ($833 million) a year by 2020, a report said Thursday.

Total overseas spending in the British capital is expected to expand by 47 percent in the same period, said Marie Hickey, associate director of research at Savills, an international real estate adviser, in the report.

"The Chinese are now the biggest spending travelers globally, and with initiatives in place to make visiting the UK easier, the retail sector should see a positive impact over the forthcoming years, with London set to benefit the most," Hickey said.

The UK plans to make it easier for Chinese nationals to apply for visas to visit the country, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced last October while visiting China.

Expected larger numbers of Chinese visitors should increase the demand for new entrants into Central London, with retailers hoping to test the waters before entering Asian markets, according to the report.

Fifty-five international brands opened their first UK stores in London in the past three years.

"London's rising prominence as a global retail destination means that we expect occupational demand to intensify, putting upward pressure on rents on all key pitches in the West End, particularly on the luxury pitches," said Anthony Selwyn, head of Central London retail, Savills.

"Over the next 18 months, we expect Bond Street's prime Zone A rents to exceed 1,500 pounds per square foot-up 15 percent from where they are now-with Brompton Road likely to see the greatest uplift in the region with 20 percent."

UK welcome mat for Chinese tourists

UK welcome mat for Chinese tourists

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