John Lewis retail director Andrew Murphy has been appointed chairman of lobby group the UK China Visa Alliance (UKCVA).
The UKCVA represents more than 950 British business and is campaigning for a streamlined tourist visa process to significantly increase the number of Chinese visitors to the UK.
Only 7% of Chinese visitors to Europe visit the UK, according to the UKCVA, as a new visa is required to do so. The UK is the only European country not to adopt the Schengen visa.
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, which was founded by New West End Company, London First, Walpole British Luxury, Global Blue and the McArthurGlen Group, has been looking at practical ways upping the number of Chinese visitors to the UK.
It has been in discussion with the Home Office to enable both the Schengen and UK visas to be applied for at a “single drop off point” in China to make it more convenient for tour operators.