John Waite’s latest report for Face the Facts addresses the conflict between the economic objective of growth and the UK’s visa policy.
In August 2010 Prime Minister Cameron recognised that tourism is vital in helping get the UK’s finances in shape, saying it is “fundamental to the rebuilding and re-balancing of our economy”. He said the industry already contributed £115 bn to the British economy every year, and would provide “one of the best and fastest ways” of generating jobs and income. The ambition was to be in top five destinations, for 0.5% increase we would add £2.7bn and more than 50,000 jobs.
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The process and cost of applying for a UK visa is discouraging large numbers of tourists from new markets in China, India and the Far East. The visa system is described John Waite as “uniquely complicated, intrusive and long-winded”, designed to deter tourists? 1 in 4 apparently do not complete the form, too complicated and intrusive. Then there are the documents, the interview and the biometric demands.
One of the Chinese interviewees describes Britain as “the origin of contemporary civilisation”.
A Schengen visa allows entry to 26 countries for €60 and £80 for the UK
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