Statistics have highlighted that London hotels are struggling to attract Chinese tourists, particularly the capital's luxury hotels. This is not due to a lack of Chinese interest in seeing Europe, France welcomes over one million tourists from China per year, but the UK only attracts 328,000 tourist applications.
BHA member and managing director of The Goring, David Morgan-Hewitt weighed in on the debate and said:
“London is the greatest city in the world but it’s lagging behind its European neighbours in terms of attracting Chinese tourists and it’s time to take action. Hoteliers want to capitalise on what is likely to be a much more mature market in five or ten years’ time, but we need to be proactive today.”
This is bad news for UK hotels and tourism in general, because Chinese tourists are amongst the biggest spenders whilst visiting. In fact, reports from The Economist suggests that those who do enter Britain will stay for longer and travel more widely meaning they will spend four times as much as Britain’s average tourist.
Clearly, more must be done to attract Chinese tourism because London is falling behind on the numbers compared to most European cities, but what is the reason behind this?
The prevailing industry view is that hotels are not doing enough to cater for the specific needs of Chinese guests, or lack the little extra touches to make them feel at home. The experts say offering gestures such as Chinese TV stations, Chinese beer/food in the mini-bars or even trying to employ staff with language skills.
Budget hotel chain Travelodge have recently opened a London hotel that is specifically aimed at Chinese tourists, but it remains to be seen if the luxury hotel brands will follow suit and offer more to cater for their needs.
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