Spending by Chinese visitors in the U.K. jumped in July, as the country’s shops and restaurants benefited from simplified rules on tourists applying for visas.
Chinese visiting the U.K. spent 50 million pounds ($78 million) on their credit cards in July, up 45 percent from a year earlier, Visa Europe said in a press release Monday. About 185,000 Chinese tourists came to Britain in 2014, and visitors from the country are now the second-highest spending tourists.
The surge in spending comes after efforts by the U.K. government to make it easier for the Chinese to visit. On July 1, Britain introduced a pilot program allowing Chinese citizens to obtain a tourist visa for the U.K. and the 26 European countries in the Schengen area simultaneously.
“The simpler twin visa system for Chinese nationals already looks to have given a big summer boost to the U.K.’s retail and tourism industries,” Kevin Jenkins, Visa Europe’s U.K. & Ireland managing director, said in the release.
The extra money spent by the Chinese went on eating out, trips to the supermarket and shopping, Visa Europe said.
While the U.K. is trying to entice more Chinese visitors, the Chinese government’s devaluation of its currency threatens to achieve the opposite. The value of the yuan sank the most in 21 years last week, meaning trips abroad have just gotten more expensive for would be Chinese holidaymakers.
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