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Simpler visa system will benefit Chinese tourists

The Home Office has announced a trial of a shared application form so that Chinese tourists can more easily apply both to visit the UK and also the Schengen area of mainland Europe. Catherine Shrimpton, head of tourism policy at London First, said:

“This one-stop-shop solution for applying for a UK and a Schengen visa, at the same time and in the same place, is a first and will remove the main obstacle to welcoming a greater number of Chinese to our country.

“The Government’s trial of a simpler twin visa system will be particularly welcomed by tourism, retail, and hospitality sectors, and will translate into jobs and growth for the wider economy.”

“Separate European and UK visa systems have forced Chinese tourists to jump through two distinct hoops, making most travellers choose between mainland Europe and the UK, rather than visiting both.

“Unsurprisingly, the Chinese often choose the European Schengen option that gives them access to 26 countries, rather than the single UK visa. This means we miss out on many Chinese tourists, who are, on average, the highest spenders in the world.”

Director of Strategy and Policy, John Dickie, appeared on BBC London news and BBC London 94.9 Radio to discuss the importance of Chinese visas to the UK economy. Listen to John here at 01:54:51.


John Dickie, speaking on BBC London News

London First is a founder member of the UK China Visa Alliance (UKCVA), which estimates that the UK loses up to £1.2 billion annually because we attract far fewer Chinese tourists than our major European neighbours.

UKCVA’s research provides clear evidence that it is the need to apply separately for two visas that is the biggest deterrent to Chinese people including the UK on their European trip.

A Schengen visa allows entry to 26 European countries, while a separate UK visa is needed to include the UK. All the evidence shows that most Chinese visitors apply for just one visa.

Read more about our work with Chinese visas

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