The number of visitors from China was up 37% in the first nine months of 2015, with spend up 4% to £435 million.
Latest figures from VisitBritain show that there were 214,000 visits from China from January to September, beating the number of visits for all of 2014, with figures for the last quarter of 2015 still to come.
A further boost is anticipated with approaching Chinese New Year on February 8.
Britain is hosting some of the largest celebrations outside Asia, from lantern parades in Manchester and London’s Chinatown to festivals and events in Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle and Bristol, among others.
The new visitor visa pilot scheme for Chinese nationals introduced earlier this month by the UK government looks set to further establish Britain as the destination of choice for this rapidly-growing market.
Chinese visitors are already some of the UK’s highest spenders, spending on average £2,688 a head. VisitBritain has ambitions to double spend from Chinese visitors to £1 billion by 2020.
VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said:
“China is the world’s largest outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for Britain. Chinese New Year is traditionally one of the busiest travel times for Chinese travellers and we want Britain to be at the top of their list as a must-go now destination.”
VisitBritain’s latest figures from the International Passenger Survey also showed strong growth from the USA in 2015, the UK’s most valuable market, with visits up 7% during the first nine months of the year to 2.6 million, the best figures since 2007.