Chinese Business Travel Trips to UK Declined in 2014
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The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics revealed figures this week that show business travel from mainland China to the U.K. declined by 13 percent in 2014.
According to the Financial Times, China-based business travelers took 48,000 trips to the U.K. last year, compared to 55,000 in 2013.
The significant decline comes despite efforts by government officials to encourage visitation.
"Chinese visitors to the UK are falling," said International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh via the Financial Times. "The government's plans to increase numbers have failed miserably. Far from being a record these numbers show the UK continues to miss out on the jobs and growth that Chinese visitors could bring to these shores."
"While the US has just introduced 10-year visas, the UK is tinkering with changes to a system that is not fit for purpose. What we need is a radical overhaul," added Walsh.
China Britain Business Council chief executive Stephen Phillips said the decline "does not make sense."
"What I hear is that the number of visas approved is rising," said Phillips. "The only thing I can think of is that government delegations have fallen off a bit because of the clampdown on spending."
The National Statistics Office's figures also show that there was a whopping 35 percent drop in Chinese travelers visiting friends and family in the U.K. last year. However, there was an 18 percent rise in Chinese vacationers, with 86,000 trips being made in 2014.
"VisitBritain has launched a number of high-profile, consumer-facing campaigns in China recently. We are optimistic that there will be a further increase in Chinese holiday visits in 2015 and beyond," said the region's tourism agency in a statement via the Financial Times.
And though London recently reported a record number of international arrivals in 2014, it remains to be seen whether Chinese business travel to the U.K. will avoid another dropoff in 2015.
But following such a massive dropoff last year, another mighty decline would be shocking to say the least.
More by Patrick Clarke
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