New UK Visa Law is a Boon for Brands with a China Plan

on October 23 2013 | in Travel Trends | by | with No Comments

London, London Eye,

Modifications to China’s Tourism Law and the UK’s visa application process may bolster luxury consumption in Great Britain, reports Travel Daily News Asia-Pacific. With the average Chinese visitor to the UK already spending £8,000 on average, well-prepared brands may see significant growth from tourists. “The visa reform is a long-awaited step that British industry has been lobbying on for years,” said Roy Graff, director of China Edge Ltd., a China outbound travel specialist.

In addition to the visa process in the UK, China’s Tourism Law was modified to better regulate how operators plan activities and collect commissions. The changes took effect on October 1. Article 35 of the law now states, “Travel agencies are prohibited from organizing tourism activities and luring tourists with unreasonably low prices, or getting illegitimate gains such as rebates by arranging shopping or providing tourism services that requires additional payment.” While the crack-down on tour packages goes into effect, high-end retailers in the UK have the opportunity to prepare for new shoppers by getting brands to better engage and serve Chinese visitors.

Jeremy Gordon, also of China Edge, said, “There is much more that British luxury brands can do to effectively target, engage and serve the global Chinese consumer. Few British brands take a strategic and structured approach to the Chinese consumer in the UK, as most have been focused on the country rather than the customer.” Gordon recommends that brands review their strategy and relevance for Chinese consumers, build engagement with outbound tour operators, and enhance in-store service and training.

Additionally, the British are hoping for even better changes to the visa process. Graff said, “While it [the new process] can help stimulate more business travel from China by offering priority, 24-hour visa processing (for a fee), I would call for the government to align itself with the Schengen visa application process in the EU, and also offer extended, multiple-entry visas to business travelers and other key groups.”

photo credit: maurice

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