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Brits heading for Chinese holidays

By BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-05-11 18:01

China is becoming increasingly attractive to British visitors, with travel bookings from the United Kingdom for visits to the Chinese mainland up by 40 percent in the first four months of this year.

Brits heading for Chinese holidays

British tourists taste a welcome drink offered by a local girl in a Miao village in Guizhou province last year.  

According to data from the travel brokerage firm Tourico Holidays, the UK, the United States and South Korea are still the strongest source markets for visits to China.

The company also found that emerging markets, such as India, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil, were helping to diversify demand.

Hillary Wang, regional director of product development in North Asia for Tourico, said: "Regional political turmoil, such as the nuclear one on the Korean Peninsula, makes the inbound China market more unpredictable- as (South Korea) was the number-one inbound source country for China last year - but, so far, Chinese travel business remains very strong."

Tourico is also predicting that business will double in 2017, because both the larger markets and the emerging markets will continue to visit China in growing numbers.

Wendy Wu Tours, a UK-based travel agency that specializes in tours of Asia, said it has seen an 18 percent year-on-year increase in China-bound travels this year.

Ben Briggs, the company's head of marketing, said: "We have found that interest in traveling to China has significantly increased in the past few years and this has continued in 2017. China has a wealth of bucket-list sights, such as the Terracotta Warriors in Shaanxi province, the Great Wall, and the Forbidden City in Beijing, so it is no surprise that it is an increasingly appealing destination to visit."We found that the blockbuster movie The Great Wall, released earlier this year, also helped to showcase the beauty of China to a wider audience and we saw an increase in interest from customers around the release period." Figures from the China National Tourism Administration indicated that 579,600 visitors arrived into China from the UK in 2015 and 179,700 stated it was for sightseeing or leisure purposes.

The administration noted that, in 2016, Western visitors went up by 9 percent, with Beijing being one of the most popular cities for overseas tourists. Meanwhile, Chinese tourists remain major travelers and outbound hotel bookings grew by 70 percent in the first 17 weeks of this year.

Wang of Tourico Holidays said: "Our local Chinese supplier partners and distribution clients are both experiencing a strong demand in 2017 and we've ensured that a dedicated support team is in place to help them push their businesses to the next level."

According to the official UK tourism body VisitBritain, Chinese tourists spend longer and travel more widely in Britain than other international visitors. They also spend an average of 2,174 pounds ($2,812) during each visit. In 2015, visits from China increased 46 percent to almost 270,000 year0on-year, with Chinese visitors spending 586 million pounds.


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