VisitBritain Hosts North East Asia Business Event in Shanghai

VisitBritain event

VisitBritain, the British government’s tourism agency, held the ‘Destination Britain China & North East Asia’ trade event in Shanghai, China, on November 23 and 24.

This was the first event since 2019, about four years ago. Chaired by Nick de Bois, the event saw participation from 54 suppliers including hotels, tourist attractions, destination management companies, and tour operators from across the UK, who conducted over 1,800 business discussions with 69 top buyers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. Many suppliers from the UK were participating in the Chinese event for the first time.

In addition to the trade conference, seminars were also held by VisitScotland, the Scottish government’s tourism agency, UK Visas and Immigration, and others. These seminars provided opportunities to enhance knowledge about international travel market trends and about the UK as a destination.

Nick de Bois, the chairman, commented, “Leading VisitBritain’s first trade mission in China since 2019 is a fantastic opportunity, and it comes at a timely and valuable juncture to assist the recovery from this vitally important visitor market. This mission will be a significant milestone for British suppliers to reconnect with the travel industry across China and North East Asia face-to-face, to present their tourism products and services and to explore new business opportunities. At a time when the demand for travel is increasing, this event is also a treasured opportunity to showcase our hospitality and to directly hear from the buyers about the motivations and trends driving outbound travel from China and North East Asia.”

According to VisitBritain’s research, the number of flights and available seats from Japan continues to recover, with bookings also showing an upward trend. Compared to 2019, bookings are at about 60%, and available seats are at about 78%, with an expected return to pre-COVID-19 levels by 2026.

In 2019, there were 389,000 visitors from Japan to the UK, with a total expenditure of £369 million. In contrast, visitors in 2022 numbered 115,289, with a total expenditure of £163.67 million, and an average spending of £1,420 per person.

More than two-thirds of visitors from Japan are aged 25-54, and while the likelihood of Japanese tourists visiting the UK for leisure purposes again stands at 50%, lower than the global average of 63%, the likelihood of visits for business purposes is much higher. The probability of Japanese residents, excluding expatriates, recommending the UK to others is also very high.

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