4 JUNE 2012
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Obtaining a tourist visa is a major deterrent for potential visitors to the UK and visa policy needs to be reformed to keep pace with major competitors like the US, Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), told leaders at a hospitality and tourism industry summit last Friday (1 June).
Reforms to the US visa process have included reducing waiting times and increasing resources for processing. In China, waiting times have been reduced from 90 days to seven days in just four months.
“Without compromising security, this is a move that must be followed by the British government if we are to compete on the world stage”, says Ms Ibrahim.
Angela Brav, Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) Chief Executive, whose Park Lane property hosted the conference, said that the company would welcome changes to the UK’s visa regime. “We know UK hotels are losing out to other destinations because of the current visa policy. Tours to Europe no longer include the UK because it’s too difficult to get a visa, which means we miss out on a significant number of bookings. We understand the need for high levels of security, but if the US can do it, then so can we”. www.bha.org.uk
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