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Heathrow prepares for Chinese New Year

London Heathrow airport is preparing to receive its annual influx of passengers from China travelling to London to celebrate Chinese New Year. According to the airport, Chinese passengers account for about 25% of total luxury spend at the airport despite representing less than 1% of total travellers.

To help those customers navigate the airport’s retail offer, Heathrow’s retail team produce leaflets in Mandarin following insight into the purchasing behaviour of customers, which indicates that Chinese travellers respond well to leaflets and spend “a significant amount of time” online planning their luxury shopping experience in advance. Mandarin-speaking customer service staff are also available.

The airport said that British brands such as Burberry and Mulberry as well as luxury watches perform particularly well with Chinese customers at Heathrow, who are keen to purchase “the best of British” on UK soil and avoid the luxury goods tax incurred in China.

Heathrow will also host a series of events including traditional Chinese music, dragon dancing, festive food sampling and taster classes in the art of Zhezhi (paper designs) to celebrate Chinese New Year. Retail director Muriel Zingraff said: “We are passionate about creating memorable experiences and celebrating worldwide events that are important to our passengers. While Chinese passengers represent a relatively small proportion of our total passenger volume, these customers are extremely important to us and have very definite ideas about their luxury brand experience which we are delighted to provide at Heathrow.”

Photo of heathrow CNY Feb2013