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Jeremy Hunt Wants Olympic 'Turbo-Charge' For UK Tourism In The Hunt For Chinese Holidaymakers' Cash

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Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on UK businesses to use the positivity from the Olympics to "turbo-charge" our tourism industry, helping to create jobs and prosperity.

In particular, the government is continuing in its attempts to woo wealthy Chinese tourists to the UK.

Reports in May showed Chinese tourists were outspending American and Russian counterparts, with London Luxury, a group representing the boutiques Bond Street, Mount Street, Jermyn Street and Savile Row, saying £200m had been spent there alone.

Although European luxury goods are still much more expensive than goods in China, their appeal is believed to be exactly because they are high-end, good quality and Western – it is seen as a status symbol.

The government plans to redouble its efforts with a strategy to be announced later today.

Press Association reported the new strategy will involve an £8m extension of the "Great" marketing campaign, including China.

But there was no detail about whether it would make the visa process - which Chinese visitors need to complete - any easier; a chief complaint in previous months.

The paperwork can cost up to £200, and is reported to be up to 10 pages long for the UK, compared to four pages long elsewhere in Europe, according to reports by the Telegraph.

In June, the Financial Times reported Britain’s ambassador to China wrote to home secretary Theresa May and other senior ministers complaining that the “fortress UK” image and the “completely self-defeating” rhetoric about its visa regime was discouraging Chinese tourists and inviting potential visitors to “take their tourism dollars elsewhere".

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport believes this has the potential to triple the number of Chinese tourists, generate more than £500m in extra spending and create more than 14,000 new jobs.

Elsewhere the government will encourage Britons to holiday in the UK, investing £2m in marketing domestic tourism or "staycations" a figure which will reportedly be matched by the industry.

As well as the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, it is hoped tourism will benefit from football's Champions League final at Wembley Stadium next year and top flight athletics' return to London in 2017 for the world championship.

Will the post Olympics buzz be enough to bring tourists to the UK? Or has that ship already sailed? Tell us your thoughts below.

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