Bath & North East Somerset Council is expecting a relaxation of visa applications for Chinese tourists will boost tourism in Bath.
From the autumn, Chinese visitors to the UK and Ireland will be able to use a single visitor visa without requiring a separate visa to travel to each of these two countries.
Bath, and the Roman Baths in particular, is one of the most popular attractions for Chinese tourists in Britain, according to Visit Britain. The Roman Baths attracted 71,000 Mandarin-speaking visitors in 2013.
According to new research from Barclays, working in partnership with Visit Britain, the South West is the preferred destination for Chinese tourists. Between 2014 and 2017, the biggest growth will be in spending by visitors from China, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, according to the research. It predicts that Chinese spend will increase by 84% from 2013 levels, reaching £1bn per annum in 2017 in a total market of £27bn, and that Chinese spending could reach £1bn per annum by 2017, making up almost 4% of the total market.
Cllr Paul Crossley, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “With these predictions it is obvious that Chinese tourists are going to become even more important to Bath. We must make sure that we work together with local tourism businesses to encourage this and to make sure that we cater properly for this market. The Council-run museums are leading the way in this and we hope that this will help to make it easy for other tourism organisations to provide Chinese-friendly services for visitors.”