12 DECEMBER 2016
© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.
The year-long delay announced by the government in introducing a 10-year visa for Chinese visitors to the UK was heavily criticised last week by the International Airlines Group (IAG). The company said the plan, announced in October 2015 during the Chinese state visit to the UK, would drive business and create jobs. The delay was “a missed opportunity”.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “The UK export market to China was worth nearly £13bn in 2015. China is the world’s second largest economy and we need to do all we can to encourage these trade links. Making it easier for Chinese businesses to come to Britain is key to that.”
Walsh continued: “It’s a missed opportunity that the trial launched a year ago has still not begun. The US has a standard 10-year visa which costs around £100; Britain’s costs £800. The government needs to match its rhetoric on China with action.”
Accusing the government of backtracking, Walsh noted that fewer Chinese visitors (491,000) came to Britain In 2015 than France (733,328) and Italy (524,929). Figures showed each spent £2,174 on average – more than twice the outlay of Americans.
“The government needs to get its act together,” he added.
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