According to recent statistics released by the French Government, the visa rules for Chinese tourists, who come into Britain are colonial and are costing the country more than 5 million pounds per day. Currently, France is the most visited country in the world with more than 80 million foreign arrivals annually and around 35 billion euro in tourism revenue.
Britain ranks as the seventh most visited country with just above 30 million visitors. Germany outranks Britain for the first time since 2006. The reason why the Chinese tourists prefer France is that the Schengen visa that is needed for the country is much simpler to fill out in comparison with the British visa. That is why many Chinese travellers do not even bother starting to fill out the complicated visa application for the UK.
According to a UK-China visa alliance which is a body that lobbies for weaker visa rules between China and Britain, UK is losing more than 1 billion pounds per year due to the fact that many Chinese tourists prefer mainland Europe. The French figures came a month after the Shanghai-based Hurun Report placed France first China’s 2.8 million dollar millionaires, with Britain in fifth place.
“Let’s be perfectly clear, this is a competition with London, this is a battle between cities. Our goal is that Chinese visitors come to Paris, stay for longer and spend more money,” François Navarro, spokesperson for the Ile-de-France regional tourist authority, recently said.
Last October, French authorities created a joint visa office in Beijing with the Germans to further fast track Chinese visitors’ travel document requests. It claims the number of visas has risen by 20 per cent since then.