John Lewis director to lead campaign encouraging more Chinese visitors

Partnership retail director Andrew Murphy announced as chairman of retail group lobbying for easier visa access

A top John Lewis board member has been selected to lead a campaign by British businesses to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Britain.

Andrew Murphy, who is the retail director for the partnership company and has been with them since 1992, was announced as chairman of the UK Chinese Visa Alliance (UKCVA) this morning.

The lobbying group boasts partners including British Airways, Selfridges and Westfield, and says it is working with the Home Office to ease visa regulations which, as they stand, encourage Chinese tourists to visit the rest of Europe instead.

UKCVA says that there are now more than one million Chinese millionaires, and that Britain’s failure to attract these affluent consumers means we are missing out on around £1.2 billion a year of spending.

Under the Schengen agreement, a tourist from China can visit 26 European countries with just a single visa. The UK is not party to that agreement, and the UKCVA’s research suggests that only 7 per cent of visitors to Europe from the Far-East nation make the effort to go through more than one visa application process.

As a result, around 82 per cent of Chinese tourists opt for a Schengen visa. Home Office statistics quoted by the UKCVA indicate around five times more of these were issued than UK visas in 2011.

In London, the business improvement district for the West End estimated that Chinese visitors spend nearly three times as much on a trip there than the average overseas visitor, at almost £1,700 per person.

This morning the UKCVA announced on Twitter: “Andrew Murphy Retail Director @johnlewisretail has been appointed Chairman of the UK China Visa Alliance #chinavisa #tourism”.

And Mr Murphy told the Telegraph: “The Chinese consumer is by far the largest spender among overseas visitors to the UK, and that spend is a vital area of growth if we are to remain globally competitive as a visitor destination.

“Whilst incremental steps have been taken, the UKCVA believes more must be done by the Government to ensure that the UK attracts its fair share of Chinese visitors, levelling the playing field with other European countries.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Richmond Fellowship: Executive Director

£66,192 per annum including car allowance of £5,700): The Richmond Fellowship:...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Office Junior

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Site Agent

£22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This traditional family company...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent