LONDON, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Britain's national tourism agency VisitBritain is to lead a three-day trade mission to Shanghai for a trade fair, marking its first mission to China since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced late Tuesday.
Taking place during Nov. 22-24, the trade fair titled "Destination Britain China and North East Asia" will bring together 43 industry suppliers from across Britain with top buyers from China, according to a press release issued by VisitBritain.
"It is fantastic to be leading VisitBritain's trade mission to China, the first since 2019, a timely and valuable opportunity to boost the recovery from this incredibly important visitor market," VisitBritain Chairman Nick de Bois CBE said.
"This mission marks a major milestone for us to reconnect with the travel trade across China and North East Asia and for British travel suppliers and destinations to get their tourism products and services in front of top buyers and explore new business opportunities," he said.
More than 2,000 one-to-one business appointments are set to take place during the trade fair with some British suppliers attending the event in China for the first time.
Participants will include representatives of hotels, visitor attractions, destination management companies, retailers, and tour and sightseeing operators, from across Britain.
The agency said flight bookings from China to Britain are currently tracking at about 50 percent of 2019 levels, showing significant improvements from January 2023 when bookings were just six percent.
VisitBritain figures show that before the pandemic, there were 883,000 visits from China to the UK in 2019, making China its second most valuable inbound visitor market, worth 1.7 billion pounds (2.1 billion U.S. dollars) to the British economy.
Forecasts by Oxford Economics and VisitBritain indicate that Chinese visitors to Britain are forecast to recover to pre-COVID levels in 2025. ■