Top English cities link up to lure Chinese tourists

London and two other of England's largest cities joined forces yesterday to promote English tourism in China, India and the Gulf region.

London and two other of England’s largest cities joined forces yesterday to promote English tourism in China, India and the Gulf region.

The partnership, which will see the British capital, Birmingham and Manchester collaborate on tourism for the first time with a focus on increasing the number of visitors arriving in one city and then traveling across the different regions.

The target areas are seen as three of the world’s fastest growing markets.

In 2016, London welcomed 165,000 Chinese visitors, up 105 percent on 2011. According to the Tourism Vision for London report, Chinese visitors to the capital are expected to rise by 103 percent by 2025. In the same period, visitor spending from China is also expected to climb 129 percent.

The project, called “Experience England” is being backed by three mayors: London’s Sadiq Khan, Birmingham’s Andy Street and Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham.

It will be financed by a US$1.7 million grant as part of a number of successful projects to receive funding from a US$56 million fund administered by VisitEngland designed to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing tourism industry.

“The project will create and promote a new England tourism experience, making it easy for customers from China, India and the GCC (Gulf region) to visit the great cities of London, Manchester and Birmingham, and then go on to explore the beautiful English countryside and villages,” a spokesman for London & Partners said.

“Our research shows that fewer than a third of visitors staying overnight in the capital go on to stay overnight elsewhere in the country. Yet the same research shows that levels of visitor satisfaction increase significantly when people do visit other destinations.”

London’s Khan said the UK capital is “home to the 10 most popular tourist attractions in the UK and we’re proud to welcome millions of visitors every year. But it’s important that they have the chance to see what’s on offer in other parts of the country too.”

Birmingham’s Street said: “By working in partnership with locations across the UK, this project will highlight how seamless exploring the full breadth of the UK’s leisure offering can be.”

Manchester’s Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is not only a vibrant, exciting region but it is also a gateway to explore the north of England, including places such as the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, the Peak District and so much more.”

In the United Kingdom, tourism makes up 9 percent of GDP. In London, the figure is higher at 11.6 percent.

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