Europe Simplifies Schengen Visa System, UK Tourism at Risk

Published on : Friday, April 4, 2014

UK-TourismAs the European Commission seek to speed up and simplify the Schengen visa application process, businesses have cautioned that the UK tourism is in danger of missing an even larger number of high-spending Chinese tourists to rival economies on the continent.

The European Commission has just revealed a raft of proposals to make it easier for consistent tourists and business people from China, Russia and Saudi Arabia to visit countries which are part of the 26-nation Schengen agreement. The UK is not a member.


The Commission considers the plans, could encourage an increase of up to 60pc in trips to Schengen nations from China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the Ukraine.

A study by the UN World Tourism Organisation says, businesses operating in the UK have long campaigned to update the UK’s own visa rules for visitors from China in particular, who are now the highest spending tourists in the world.

According to the UK China Visa Alliance, an alliance of tourism companies and retailers, nine out of ten Chinese visitors to Europe only apply for one visa and the overwhelming majority, 82pc, opts for a Schengen visa.

Companies also fear the proposed improvement to Schengen, which include allowing online applications and a new “touring visa” allowing trips of up to a year, could draw even more business to competitor countries in Europe.



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