28 September 2012

Retail bosses join airline calls for UK visa relaxations

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A consortium of some of London's most powerful retail brands have mirrored the airline industry by grouping together to urge the Government to loosen UK visa restrictions for Chinese tourists.

UK visa

Some of the UK's best known luxury brands have joined calls to loosen UK visa restrictions for Chinese tourists.

International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh said last week a group of airlines was lobbying the Government to loosen obstructive UK visa requirements to allow more affluent Chinese tourists to visit the UK.

Chinese tourists currently have to fill out a 25 page long application form for a visa which is not available in Mandarin. Alternatively, Chinese tourists can choose to visit Europe on a Schengen visa, which is considerably easier to obtain and allows the holder to visit 26 countries.

As a result, over eight times as many Chinese tourists, who have been shown to spend more on holiday than any other nationality, visit France than the UK.

Mr Walsh said at the time "there is a much greater awareness in Government of this significant impediment to...tourism in the UK" and insisted progress was beginning to be made.

And now a fresh consortium, this time made up of the New West End Company and Walpole, who control brands including Burberry and Mulberry, have added their support to a proposal to ease visa requirements.

The consortium intends to issue a proposal to the UK Border Agency next month which is aimed at easing restrictions. While details of the actual proposal are to be revealed, it is believed the consortium feels Chinese tourists should be allowed to simultaneously submit Schengen and UK visa applications, along with any required supporting evidence.


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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