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Chinese visitors more comfortable in furnished apartments than hotels

By Wang Mingjie in London | | Updated: 2017-10-23 23:05

Chinese visitors more comfortable in furnished apartments than hotels

Chinese tourists walk through Parliament Square in central London in August. [photo/Agencies]

Many Chinese visitors to the United Kingdom are avoiding hotels and favoring serviced apartments, according to a trade body.

The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers said Chinese visitors have increasingly sought out serviced apartments in the past 12 months, with some buildings reporting a 30 percent rise in the number of Chinese occupants.

Joyce Cawthorpe, the association's marketing manager, said: "Several of our members have experienced a very significant increase in business from China last year, averaging out at 20 percent.Chinese guests are now the largest overseas market for luxury serviced apartments."

Gavin MacLennan, general manager of Lateral City Apartments in Edinburgh, said nearly 25 percent of its guests are from China, compared to five percent in 2013 when the apartments were first available.

"Serviced apartments are very well suited to the Chinese market," he said. "They provide room for more guests, allowing larger groups to travel together. More space also means more room to relax, which is a big draw for guests from China who tend to be on longer stays than those from the UK."

Serviced apartments usually feature a well-equipped kitchen, so "longer-stay guests can cook for themselves – a big plus for our Chinese guests looking for a home from home", MacLennan said.

Zhou Lili from Hangzhou, in East China's Zhejiang province, elected to stay in a serviced apartment in London along with three friends during the recent Golden Week holiday. Zhou said they chose to rent an apartment because "it offers more space and privacy".

"We have the choice to decide whether we want to eat out or cook our own meals," Zhou added.

The most recent VisitBritain report shows overseas visits from China during the first six months of 2017 were up by 47 percent compared to last year – to a record 115,000. Spending was also at record levels, at 231 million pounds ($305 million), which was up 54 percent on the first six months of 2016. That means each Chinese visitor spent more than 2,000 pounds on average.

The UK currently has 21,262 serviced apartments. Some 15,000 more are set to be built by 2020. The sector is worth 864 million pounds, according to the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers. The organization revealed that serviced apartments in the UK averaged an 81 percent occupancy rate in 2016, outperforming hotel rooms, which had a rate of 77.2 percent.


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