The UK China Visa Alliance (UKCVA) has appointed John Lewis Retail Director Andrew Murphy as chairman.
Murphy, who has been at John Lewis for 21 years, will bid to ease visa regulations in Britain for Chinese visitors.
The Schengen Agreement currently allows Chinese people to visit 26 European countries but the UK is not a party to the agreement. UKCVA’s research proposes that only seven per cent of visitors to Europe from the Far-East nation are willing to go through more than one visa application process
Murphy said: “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. I look forward to working with the Alliance to ensure the Government makes these vital changes,” he added.
The UKCVA has been in discussion with the Home Office about enabling both Schengen country and UK visas to be applied for in China at a ‘single drop off point’