Chinese tourists flock back to UK but spend less at Heathrow outlets
Businesses, including Heathrow, say the UK is missing out on spending from Chinese tourists returning to Europe.
Hundreds of bosses have urged the Chancellor to re-introduce a VAT-free shopping scheme.
Shops at Heathrow, which is backing the Mail’s campaign, are seeing depressed spending from Chinese passengers.
Although Chinese visitor numbers are almost back at 2019 levels, spending at airport shops is below pre-pandemic levels.
In July, the number of Chinese travellers was 88 per cent of 2019 levels – but spending levels were just 33 per cent.
Missing out: Although Chinese visitor numbers are almost back at 2019 levels, spending at airport shops is below pre-pandemic levels
The figures are another sign that Chinese tourists are spending in France and Spain rather than the UK.
Firms are braced to lose out on spending in Golden Week, a Chinese holiday this week, when many tourists travel to Europe.
More than 400 leading businesses have demanded ministers scrap the unpopular tourist tax. The Mail’s campaign has been backed by Marks & Spencer, Harrods and Giorgio Armani.
Planet, a payment service which processes VAT refunds for European retailers, says that Chinese tourists spend an average £1,038 per transaction on goods they claim the tax back on.