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UK superyacht sales restricted by visa rules

The complex process Chinese tourists need to undertake is currently strangling the UK’s potential superyacht sales to the Chinese sector. Luxury yacht creators Sunseeker and Princess are among those that claim the complicated entry rules for Chinese tourists are damaging potential sales opportunities.

The billionaires of China are refusing to come over to the UK due to the difficult process they have to endure in order to enter the country. This involves anything from detailed application forms to getting their fingerprints taken at one of 12 Chinese authorities.

According to the Telegraph:

“The British Marine Federation, the trade body for the superyacht sector, said the current visa system was sending wealthy buyers straight into the arms of European competitors, who it is easier for Chinese nationals to visit.”

The Telegraph also quotes Howard Pridding, chief executive of the BMF, as saying:

"Chinese tourist restrictions are a straitjacket on the UK marine industry which is harming businesses, sapping the economy, and costing local jobs. When a handful of visas can be all that stands in the way of tens of millions of pounds for the UK economy, the current restrictions are clearly not working in the country's best interests."

It is no secret that overseas markets such as China, represent some great sales opportunities and chances for growth within the superyacht industry.

According to the telegraph, The British leisure marine industry generates around £2.9 billion a year, with China offering the greatest opportunity to grow the market.

Robert Braithwaite, president of Sunseeker commented,

"Chinese visa problems are impacting on Sunseeker's long term growth prospects. An important part of the client experience during the decision making process is to visit our shipyard in Poole or a UK boat show. Sunseeker's Chinese clients and potential buyers are having extreme difficulty in obtaining a visa to visit the UK, being laborious at best and often declined."

According to the Telegraph, a Home Office spokesman responded:

"China is one of the UK's priority markets for tourism and business. Our Chinese visa system already provides an excellent service and we will continue to make further improvements wherever possible, but we will not compromise the security of our border."

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