SMEs cash in as overseas visitors hit the UK for Chinese New Year

Worldpay predicts a golden week at the tills for UK retailers as Chinese tourists flood to the country to spend over the year of the Rooster.

Chinese visitors could shell out over £11 million in London alone over the coming week, as tourists flock to the capital to welcome in the year of the Rooster.

According to the latest data from Worldpay, department stores and high-end boutiques could be among the biggest winners during the annual spring festival, with spending on Chinese cards expected to be 40 per cent higher than average for this time of year.

These figures are expected to increase even further this year, with more Chinese visitors than ever visiting British shores. As Worldpay reported earlier this month, spending by Chinese visitors has increased by 24 per cent year on year, as bargain-hunting ‘Brexit tourists’ take advantage following the slump in value of the pound against the Yuan in the wake of the referendum result. The combination of the weak pound and a growing Chinese luxury market means the UK has never been more desirable as a shopping destination.

Although many overseas visitors will be hitting the high street, it’s not all about the shopping. Museums, art galleries and cultural attractions can also expect takings to jump by 27 per cent. Meanwhile, bars and restaurants up and down the country could see takings from Chinese tourists increase by more than half as New Year celebrations get underway.

Chinese New Year is traditionally one of the busiest times for Chinese travellers, with an estimated 6 million people taking the opportunity to journey abroad during the public holiday. In the weeks running up to the event, travel agents and airlines across China have seen a 26 per cent boost in sales as consumers take advantage of the public holiday to travel internationally. And with the UK government continuing to relax visa restrictions for Chinese visitors, it is now easier than ever for tourists to visit the UK.

Commenting on the data, James Frost, CMO Worldpay UK says, ‘As the Chinese New Year is seen in across the world, it looks as though Britain’s businesses are set for a Golden Week ‘gold rush’. With the weakened pound, London is much cheaper this year for Chinese visitors, and we expect popular shopping destinations to reap the benefits from the influx of free-spending tourists.’

With visitor spend mushrooming in the UK, Worldpay is enabling UnionPay cardholders to spend with more small businesses by having UnionPay added as a standard payment method to 250,000 terminals across the UK. Roll-out of the new software will commence over the coming months.

James Frost adds, ‘Offering a range of international payment methods is an easy way to improve the overall experience for foreign visitors, and make them feel more at home. China UnionPay has the monopoly in its home country, and is the fastest growing card company globally, so something as simple as implementing this payment method could attract even more international shoppers into your store.’

Further reading on Chinese tourists

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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