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VisitBritain recently celebrated its milestone partnerships with Hainan Airlines (HNA Group) and Alitrip, Alibaba Group’s tourism arm, in China. Hainan Airlines is the only Chinese airline with which VisitBritain has a long-term strategic partnership in China.
Both partnerships have been established to attract more Chinese visitors to Britain and the UK remains one of China’s favourite tourist destinations.
Latest flight booking data from ForwardKeys shows that flight bookings from China to the UK for November 2016 to January 2017 are up by 17% when compared to the same period in 2015. Looking at the Christmas period from December 18 to December 31, 2016 – flight bookings from China to the UK are up 37% compared to the same period in 2015.
VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said that China, the world’s most valuable outbound market, was a huge tourism opportunity for Britain. “Britain is packed full of amazing moments and experiences and offering great value for Chinese visitors right now. We want to deliver a world-class visitor experience for Chinese customers,” she added.
President of Hainan Airlines, Jianfeng Sun said, “Hainan Airlines will make full use of the opportunities created by the Air Service Agreement to further explore and develop the British market together with VisitBritain. ”
Alitrip Senior Vice President, Jerry Hu said, “Chinese tourists are showing more interest than ever before in visiting the UK and are looking for new ways to experience popular and undiscovered British destinations. This trend also means that as more Chinese tourists visit the UK, they will interact with British brands and discover new shopping experiences in the region.”