A new study is showing that UK visa restrictions may be at the basis of why Chinese visitors are less present in the British tourism landscape. In fact this wall which prevents Chinese travelers from visiting the country may cost over £1.2 billion to local stores and businesses in lost revenue. The government has warned that this is a big part of the UK airport funding sector that is being denied to local businesses.
This study comes after an open letter was sent to the UK Travel Forum from the Airports Operators Association, which claims that the government needs to implement new measures in order to change those visa requirements, urging culture secretary Maria Miller and Lord Green, the investment minister, to make changes as soon as possible. The result of these strong visa restrictions means that Chinese operators simply cannot use the UK as part of their tours. The visa process currently is very heavy handed and lacks transparency as to what is working and what is not.
Right now, the only people benefiting from this type of visa system are oversea competing countries, according to the open letter. In fact in 2011, less than 200,000 Chinese travelers came to the UK, which is far less than France and Germany see.
China sees the UK system as cumbersome and bureaucratic, and tour operators from there simply avoid the system altogether. Yet Chineses can be big spenders in the UK with a recent survey showing a £1,600 spending budget per person, which represent a big amount lost.