Airport operator BAA announced its support to streamline visa procedures for Chinese tourists entering the UK, based on a report by London First, a business lobbying group.
The organisation recently put forth 30 recommendations to boost the country’s economy. Among other things, it suggested making it easier for Chinese visitors to enter the UK. The report stated that in 2009, 54 million Chinese travelled abroad with only 110,000 heading for the UK.
Nigel Milton, Heathrow Airport policy director, said: “Right now, it’s far cheaper for Chinese tourists to travel to competing hub airports like Paris or Amsterdam. China’s massive expansion in aviation is a huge opportunity for the UK and small changes could have a significant impact on UK jobs by bringing in more tourists from China and elsewhere.”
Relaxing visa rules could lead to a £82 million (US$133 million) boost a year for the luxury retail industry alone, stated the report.