London's shops seek visa easing

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The Independent Online

The New West End Company (NWEC) has launched a campaign to persuade the Government to relax visa restrictions for Chinese visitors, in an effort to boost spending in central London's shops.

The NWEC, which represents 600 retailers, is seeking an "urgent meeting" with the new Tourism minister, Jeremy Hunt, to raise the issue ahead of the 2012 Olympics. Global Blue has forecast that lifting visa restrictions for Chinese shoppers alone could increase spending by £165m over the first two years, because while 110,000 Chinese come to Britain each year, more than two million visit the rest of Europe.

Other key markets with visa restrictions include the United Arab Emirates, Russia and India.

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