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UK ready to welcome Chinese visitors

Consultancy and information firm UKinbound has said that the British tourism industry is in a position to handle the influx of tourists from China that is expected in coming years.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, there will be 100 million Chinese tourists travelling worldwide by 2020 and a large proportion of these are expected to visit the UK.

Stephen Dowd, chief executive of UKinbound, told BBC Radio Five Live that 160,000 people from China came to Britain in 2006 and this is expected to climb to 180,000 this year.

He added: "We're ready for the numbers that are coming right now and for the foreseeable future.

"I think the preparations have been going on for a number of years as the numbers have built up and I think it is a progressive situation. As more visitors come then we will put on more facilities specifically for the Chinese visitors."

Mr Dowd pointed out that the number of Chinese tourists coming to the UK is "very small" in comparison to the 32 million people that come to Britain every year from around the globe.