2016- The Fire monkey
The year of the monkey promises to bring much prosperity to Chinese tourists traveling to the UK and to the UK economy. From January, new visitor visas for tourists from the People’s Republic of China will be valid in the UK for 2 years – 4 times the usual 6-month limit for a standard visitor visa – bringing significant benefits to the UK economy. It is the UK Government’s intention to go further with plans for a new 10 year multi-entry visa for Chinese tourists at no extra cost. The new scheme offers better value in both cost and convenience. Additionally, mobile fingerprinting service is to be extended to an additional 50 cities in China to make it easier to apply for a UK visa.
Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, sees this as a positive stride to strengthening UK-China relations, “It is designed to make it easier for Chinese business people, for Chinese tourists to visit the UK and we hope that it will herald the beginning of a far higher level of interchange and exchange between our two peoples.”
This reinforcement in UK-China relations means good news to the UK economy. Prime Minister David Cameron commented: “China is becoming one of our fastest-growing tourism markets so making it easier and more convenient for Chinese visitors to come to the UK is extremely important… is great news for our tourism industry and great news for the British economy enabling us to maximise Chinese spending power even further.”
Just like the monkey, the UK is acting one step ahead of the game since this visa scheme is the best option in Europe for Chinese tourists. These steps can be sure to bring a positive impact to the economy, in the last five years there has been a significant increase in Chinese visitors from 115,000 in 2009 to 336,000 in 2014 with each spending on average £2,688 every time they visit, the Foreign Office said.
According to VisitBritain inbound tourists amounted to more than £26 billion to the UK economy in 2013. Therefore, making it more convenient for Chinese tourists can have a significant positive impact to the UK economy, increasing Chinese tourism can also be seen in job creation where, for example, every 22 additional Chinese visitors create an additional job in the sector.
The UK is taking the monkey’s positive traits and hopefully this year of the monkey will mean strengthening of UK-China relations and much growth to the UK economy.