Direct flights increase the number of visitors to the city
Greater Manchester’s economy is boosted by tens of thousands of pounds due to a huge increase in Chinese visitors.
Since the introduction of direct flights between Manchester Airport and Beijing, tourism has grown by more than a third.
The companies are also making deals with £ 1.29 billion worth of goods exported over the past two years.
Today Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham revealed the findings of an independent study that focuses on the “golden age” of relationships. He revealed that Chinese companies were increasing their investments in the north of England, reinforcing a trend sparked by President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Manchester almost three years ago.
“The China Dividend: Two Years In” followed the economic, social and cultural benefits that have been felt in the North over the two years since direct flights began.
The findings of the study by independent consultants Steer Davis Gleave include:
A 38% increase in Chinese visitors to the North since 2016 – an above-average growth rate for London and the UK. UK average is 30%
Average spend per visit in the North West increased 94% to £ 2,167 and is now 5% above the national average
The number of Chinese students in Greater Manchester has increased by 9% in two years against a national growth of 4%
A 114% increase in the number of northern students obtaining internships in Chinese, of which over 70% are from low-income backgrounds
Manchester-Beijing route has grown faster than any UK-China route in service for more than 12 months
Manchester Airport’s export values to China rose 41% to £ 1.29 billion in the two years following the route’s launch, while domestic values fell 30% .
Mr Burnham launched the report before attending the Tianjin World Economic Forum, where he was scheduled to meet with world leaders and speak on a variety of topics, including smart cities, healthcare and green manufacturing. He said: “Greater Manchester has the ambition to sit at the heart of a productive, culturally rich and internationally competitive northern economy.
“To do this, it is vital that the North has strong links with high growth markets like China, which we have worked hard to develop over the past five years.
“Direct air links are at the heart of our ambition, and the China Dividend study demonstrates that good connectivity is not just about getting people and products from A to B, but the broader impacts they have on so many aspects of people’s lives at both ends of the course.
“All regions of the North benefit from the economic, social and cultural ties that have been forged as a result of the region’s first-ever direct service to mainland China launched two years ago.
“We have really seen the success of the first route to China from Manchester Airport, so we hope to see more added in the future.”