We are delighted that as a founding member of the UK China Visitor Alliance we have made tremendous progress in persuading the Government to introduce initiatives that encourage more Chinese tourists to visit the UK.
The campaign to date has seen the Government adopt our major policy recommendations including, at its core, the concept of a one-stop-shop to make it easier to apply for both a UK and Schengen visitor visa. This has led to practical initiatives including:
- Accepting a Schengen application form to apply for a UK visa (halving the paperwork)
- A Visa Application Centre sharing pilot with Belgium
- The introduction of a 2 year visa as standard (replacing the standard 6 month visa)
- A commitment to introducing a 10 year visa as standard
- Joint marketing initiatives
Since we started the campaign, Chinese visitor numbers to the UK have seen a double digit growth form 2012-2016. For the first time, in 2016, the UK outperformed Schengen in terms of the annual increase in visas issued in China while overtaking Germany and Italy and drawing close to France in the number of visitor visas issued.
Our new programme will promote new initiatives and ensure that earlier policy commitments are delivered. It includes a mixed programme of working with Government, events with Ministers and media activity. All this is explained in more detail in the campaign plan, which can be downloaded here.
Because the Chinese market is so important, we are keen to build on this success and are seeking new corporate members to help fund the campaign. Membership is normally £5,000 but as a member of Heart of London Business Alliance, we are delighted to be able to offer you the chance to join the Alliance at a 50% discount.