John Lewis’ retail director Andrew Murphy is to chair lobby group UK China Visa Alliance as it ups its demands for a more streamlined tourist visa process.
Murphy has board responsibility for operation, performance and profitability of John Lewis’ 39 department stores. His role at UKCVA will see him “bring a strategic outlook to the campaign”, building on the work carried out by the alliance so far.
According to the UKCVA, which was founded last year by New West End Company, London First, Walpole British Luxury, Global Blue and the McArthurGlen Group, only 7% - equivalent to 200,000 people – choose to get the two visa required to visit the UK as well as the rest of Europe. It estimates that this caps potential spend from Chinese tourists at 1.3% of the global total.
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.”
The UKCVA is seeking a “single drop off point” for both UK and European visas.