Chinese travelers bound for Great Britain will be receiving two-year multi-entry visas starting from this month. Previous tourist visas for Chinese visitors were limited to six months.
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his government’s plans for the change last October. Chinese tourists spend 500 million in the UK each year, mostly on luxury shopping and tourist attractions. The number of visitor visas issued to Chinese travelers has tripled over the past few years, from 115,000 in 2009 to 336,000 in 2014. Each visitor spends an average £2,688.
The British government hopes that the extension of the visitor visas will lead to more spending.
“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,” Cameron said in a statement published on the British government website.
Cameron also announced plans to institute a 10-year multi-entry visa for Chinese tourists at no extra cost. A UK visitor visa costs £85.
The British government is also extending its mobile fingerprinting service from nine Chinese cities to 50, and is discussing plans to expand its number of Visa Application Centers in China.
Chinese visitors spend on average 10 nights in the UK, compared to an average of six nights for all foreign visitors, according to VisitBritain. Almost 40 percent of Chinese visitors shop at luxury stores. Every 22 additional Chinese tourists create an additional job in the Chinese tourism sector, the government said.