Press release: 3 Aug '15

The London Group Plc and SinoFortone Group, are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which will see more than £250 million invested in the tourism infrastructure of the United Kingdom.

The British Chinese joint venture is designed to bring British and Chinese people together during their precious leisure time in a stimulating harmonious but relaxed environment. The enterprise will be named SinoBritish Waterside Villages and will give British, Chinese and other overseas visitors the opportunity to experience each other’s cultures in outstanding locations and to develop friendships with individuals and families from other nations.

The London Group have recently made the first acquisition for this concept by purchasing Lakeview Country Club, a 30 year old Cornish holiday village for £12,500,000 and have obtained permission to extend the 100 acres into the largest and most desirable private waterside village in Britain. Lakeview (to be renamed Waterside Luxury Village, Cornwall) is located in the heart of Cornwall, Britain’s foremost holiday destination, and with the support of both local and central Government is hoping to open up to international markets.

Site plan
Destination spa hotel

The private village has been designed by award-winning architects Evans and Shalev (designers of the Tate Modern in St Ives) who will also create a stunning combination of historic refurbishments and new buildings within another three of the most popular regions in the United Kingdom; London, Scotland and The Lake District. 

“It is an honour for London Group to be involved in this unique concept through a partnership between two of the world’s greatest and most historic nations, which is designed to bring our citizens together to share their precious leisure time,” comments Mr. Simon Hume-Kendall, Chief Executive of London Group. “We are most grateful for the support received from Visit Cornwall, as well as for Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of a major investment into the West Country and Cornish infrastructure, which alongside the excellent co-operation and hard work from our Chinese partners has made this ground-breaking project possible.”

Dr. Peter Zhang, Managing Director of SinoFortone Group adds: “We have signed a deal worth more than £250 million, we will create hundreds of jobs locally and long term economic growth for the British and Chinese people. The UK is the most popular European destination for Chinese investment and visitors, our SinoBritish tourism concept is a tremendous opportunity for us to make more of this great market.”

Britain has long been a popular tourist destination with over 100,000,000 trips being taken within the UK every year almost half of which are from overseas.

As well as Cornwall with over 4,500,000 visitors a year, the visitor numbers to the three other major destinations are:-

1. London                      40,000,000 visitors
2. Scotland                  7,000,000 visitors
3. Lake District           4,500,000 visitors

At present only 1% of these visitors are Chinese, thus presenting a huge opportunity for Chinese people to visit Great Britain and experience its rich and historic culture.

The Group and its partners also have interests in other large areas of waterside land and amenities within the target areas, and intend to provide extensive leisure opportunities for families, groups, couples and individuals visiting from China, the UK and many other nations. The villages are based in locations which will allow easy access to the principle historic and iconic attractions of these regions.

The combined group has been working with the Ministry of Tourism and Visit Cornwall to ensure that its designs are optimal to meet the most demanding specifications and will include:

1)  2, 3 and 4 bedroom individual 4-star stylish and comfortable villas with self-catering facilities. These villas are ideal for groups or families with children.

2) A state of the art Visitor Centre with large reception areas, meeting and function rooms, dining rooms serving both local and Chinese cuisine, bars, gym and swimming pools, racquet sports, and a well-being, beauty and vitality spa.

3) A 5-star adult only Hotel particularly designed for individuals and couples desiring peace and tranquillity.

4) A wide variety of outdoor pursuits including water sports, golf, fishing, tennis, cycling and children’s adventure activities.

5) Mandarin speaking receptionists and tour guides.

6) Transport facilities to major attractions.

The combined Group’s Board of Directors has many decades of experience, holding senior positions in some of the UK and China’s largest private and state-owned organisations. The Board are hopeful that the contract will be finalised in time for the Chinese State Presidential visit in October 2015, where the signing of the documents may be witnessed by the President of China.

“To stay competitive any sector has to constantly invest and we welcome this significant investment in the future of Cornish tourism,” enthused Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall. “Cornwall is already the Country’s leading leisure tourism destination, evidenced by Cornwall winning the UKs most popular tourist region for six years in succession at the British Travel Awards.  It is now right that Cornwall starts to take its place as an international tourism destination. We have a world-class coastline, landscape, heritage, attractions and culture and this exciting investment will help us to meet our ambitions. We look forward to working with the team as the developments take shape.” 

Scott Mann, Conservative MP for North Cornwall adds: “Cornwall is a beautiful county and is working hard to stimulate its tourist economy, therefore, we welcome the Chinese involvement in the building project along with Chinese visitors, with open arms. 

“The Conservative Government have invested heavily in improving infrastructure to Cornwall with the addition of local cycle ways and the duelling of the A30 carriage way into Cornwall at Temple which will help the county to grow and improve.

“The additional links to China and other world economies will help Cornwall to grow and it would be great to see Mandarin being taught in local schools.  Such investment will help the young people of Cornwall to be able to purchase their own homes and the direct investment into Cornwall, by China, will assist with wage growth.  We hope to build links with China for years to come and this fantastic investment into Lakeview Country Club, in the centre of Cornwall will help to improve the local economy of North Cornwall where I hold my constituency.”

James Berresford, VisitEngland Chief Executive concludes: “Tourism in England makes a vital contribution to the economy and the South West in particular relies heavily on tourism, generating £9.6 billion in spend in the region last year alone. The product development seen in the South West over the last decade has been phenomenal and this new influx of infrastructure investment, catering to domestic and key international markets, is much welcome indeed. It is this scale of investment into the local economy that can drive real change and growth in the tourism sector, by showcasing and developing standout product to ensure a world class offer for all visitors.”