Britain on Monday announced it will ease access to visas for Chinese tourists and business travelers ahead of a visit by Premier Li Keqiang aimed at strengthening ties.
The announcement kicks off a three-day visit by Li during which Britain aims to strengthen trade ties and warm a relationship strained by a spat over Tibet.
The changes include a single visa to allow Chinese and Indian tourists to travel to both Ireland and Britain and a simplified online application form for independent travellrs.
Britain is also in talks with European partners to allow Chinese visitors to apply for visas for Britain and parts of Europe through a single application process, following a 2013 pilot program with tour operators which sped up applications.
The moves are likely to please retailers keen to attract Chinese shoppers, who are the world's biggest spenders on luxury goods by nationality but do two-thirds of their luxury spending abroad, where high-end items are cheaper, according to Bain & Company consultants.
Katja Hall, deputy director-general of lobby group the Confederation of British Industry, praised the move, saying deeper links with China are of "critical importance to our economic future."
Prime Minister David Cameron has pushed for tighter restrictions on movement within the European Union as part of a bid to cap immigration, a touchstone issue for his coalition government.
"Having a visa system is vital to protecting Britain's borders . . . ," Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May said.
"But I want to make sure they are as efficient as possible in welcoming tourists and business people from around the world."