LONDON, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- With the increase in visits from China in 2017, Britain is ready to welcome more visitors ahead of Chinese New Year, the country's national tourism agency, VisitBritain, announced Tuesday.
VisitBritain recorded a 33-percent increase in visits from China during the first nine months of 2017, and the national tourism agency estimates the full year figures of about 330,000 visits. Forecasts for 2018 are about 349,000 visits from China to the UK. Visits from China to the UK more than doubled in the decade to 2016.
Chinese New Year, which gets underway on Feb. 16, is a prime time for travel for the Chinese, and Britain is gearing up to host some of the largest celebrations outside Asia, said VisitBritain in a statement.
There are three days of celebrations planned in Liverpool, parades in Manchester, lion dances in Birmingham, and festivals and performances in Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, NewcastleGateshead and the Isle of Wight. London's Chinatown and Trafalgar Square are also hosting events across Britain.
"We want the UK to be the destination of choice for visitors from China, the world's most valuable outbound market. We're building on the growth we have seen, launching a new campaign in China showcasing that Britain is bursting with fun activities and wonderfully unexpected experiences all year round," said VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates.
VisitBritain's digital marketing campaign launched last week in China. Through short films and images, it highlights Britain's lesser-explored destinations, alongside globally-renowned and iconic cultural landmarks and attractions. The campaign aligns is part of the UK government's global GREAT Britain campaign.
According to VisitBritain, Chinese visitors are some of the UK's highest spenders, spending on average 1,972 pounds (2,742 dollars) per person during their visit, more than three times the all market average. They also stay longer on their holidays in Britain than other international visitors, averaging ten nights compared to six for other markets.
VisitBritain said every 22 Chinese visitors to Britain supports an additional job in tourism, stressing its ambition is to double the spending of Chinese visitors in the UK to one billion pounds (1.39 billion U.S. dollars) annually by 2020. Tourism is a 127-billion-pound industry in the UK.