The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced changes to tourist visas which will refund the cost of up to 25,000 visas to Chinese tourists, in order to try and attract more Chinese visitors to the UK.
The announcement was made at an economic summit in London, which was also attended by Chinese vice premier Ma Kai, as Osborne announced 'The more Chinese tourists, the merrier.'
The proposed refunds only affect those who book their trip through a specified list of tour operators, and the UK government would then refund the fees. This announcement is part of a wider plan to try and attract more Chinese visitors to the UK. Earlier this month Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans to scrap transit visas for Chinese tourists stopping over in the UK, en-route to other destinations.
Another deal has recently been agreed which will see more flights between the UK and China, and there are also plans for British businesses to help build Chinese websites and rail infrastructure. Meanwhile there will also be Chinese investment in the UK, in areas such as shipping, golf courses, and healthcare.
Osborne said that these plans will 'strengthen British aviation, strengthen British airports as hubs for direct routes to China, so that people use British airports as a jumping off point for trips around Europe,'
'Of course one of the really exciting things we see all around is more and more Chinese tourists coming to the United Kingdom and they are very, very welcome,' he added.
VisitBritain, a UK tourism agency have also welcomed the plan, calling it 'the perfect catalyst to enable Chinese tourists to not only visit Britain, but travel right across the country.'