UKCVA launches Chinese visa reportMay 16, 2013
Today (Wednesday 15 May), the UK China Visa Alliance (spearheaded by London First, New West End Company, Walpole British Luxury, Global Blue and the McArthurGlen Group) launched its report ‘The UK: Brand of Opportunity’, laying out the economic case for attracting more Chinese visitors to the UK, and simplifying the visa application process.
One of the report’s key findings is that the vast majority of Chinese visitors to Europe are discouraged by needing to apply for two visas – one for the UK and one for Schengen, the latter allowing them to visit 26 other European countries. Only one Chinese visitor in ten applies for both visas. This is estimated to cost the UK £1.2billion in lost retail sales, and this figure is set to rise to £3.1billion by 2020 when China is forecast to be the world’s largest outbound tourism market.
At the report launch, Immigration Minister, Mark Harper gave his commitment to work with business to explore ways to improve the application process so that it is easier for Chinese visitors to apply for both visas at the same time.
Outlining a new VIP mobile visa service for business travellers, where applicants can apply for their visa and provide their biometric information to a visa officer who comes to their home or place of work, Harper also alluded to future initiatives that could see closer collaboration with tour operators in China.
London First and the UKCVA will continue working with the Home Office to explore ways to streamline the UK visa application process without compromising UK border security.