With a state visit to the UK by Chinese president Xi Jinpin about to begin, record-high tourism figures from Chinese nationals have give further fuel to the notion of the UK being the country's best friend in the west.
The number of people visiting Britain from China hit 90,000 in the first six months of 2015, VisitBritain figures show, up 28 per cent against the same period last year.
This puts the number of people visiting the UK from China at a record high.
President Xi's state visit officially begins tomorrow. The visit has been described by officials as the start of a “golden era” for relations between Britain and China, and the Treasury has officially outlined ambitions to make China the UK’s second-biggest trade partner within the next 10 years.
Sally Balcombe, chief executive of VisitBritain believes the publicity surrounding the state visit will send the number of Chinese tourists soaring higher still in months to come:
The state visit of the President of China Xi Jinping this week, and the accompanying international media exposure and visibility, is a fantastic opportunity for us to inspire more international visitors from China to come and explore all the nations and regions of Britain.
This is good news for the UK economy, as Chinese visitors both stay longer and spend more. Chinese visitors spend almost four times more than the average visitor to the UK, spending an average of £2,688 each.