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The UK is facing the prospect of a future with no Chinese tourists

A woman exits the Louis Vuitton shop on New Bond Street in London on August 24, 2009.
REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
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  • Annabelle Timsit
By Annabelle Timsit

Geopolitics reporter

Published Last updated on

Covid-19 has brought tourism from China to the UK to a standstill. But with relations worsening seemingly day-by-day between the two countries, some wonder when travel—and spending—will resume.

The UK and China have been at odds in recent months over the pandemic, technology, and Hong Kong. Britain, which has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Europe, criticized China’s response to the coronavirus. Then the British government banned Chinese tech giant Huawei (Quartz member exclusive) from the UK’s 5G network. Finally, after Beijing imposed a security law on Hong Kong that exposes anti-government protesters to arrest, Britain offered a “path” to citizenship to millions of Hong Kongers—a move that China called “gross interference.”

All of this has taken place during the initial months of the pandemic, when almost all tourism to the UK had stopped anyway. But there’s reason to believe that it could affect Chinese inbound tourism even after the pandemic abates.

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