The Irish tourism minister Leo Varadkar has expressed an opinion that United Kingdom and Ireland should create a common visa, which grants the international tourists right to visit both countries without the need to apply for two separate visas. Minister Varadkar thinks that both United Kingdom and Ireland will be able to profit from such a change. The reason for this is that the new travel zone, which is supposed to be modeled after the Schengen Zone in mainland Europe, will attract more and higher- spending visitors, which will come mostly from countries with rapidly-growing economies – China, Brazil, Russia etc.
Currently there is possibility for foreign visitors, who travel to United Kingdom with a foreign visitor visa to visit Ireland, without applying for a new Irish visa. This feature will however be available only until October 2016. Varadkar thinks that the new UK-Irish visa will save a lot of time and paperwork to travelers which are coming from remote countries. He says that: “It makes no sense to me that a tourist flying into Dublin from Dubai needs a separate visa to travel to the Titanic Experience in Belfast and to see the Giant’s Causeway. And it makes even less sense to the tourist.”
The new idea for a common United Kingdom-Ireland travel zone is the latest action that Ireland government takes, in order to attract more tourists to its country. The international tourism is one of the fundamental pillars for the recovery of the whole Irish economy and therefore the policy-makers are addressing this issue with top-priority. Furthermore the proposal comes in times when Ireland has cut VAT for its hospitality sector from 23% to only 9%. In addition to that Ireland seeks more close ties Great Britain in an effort to re-boost its hardly hit from the crisis business environment.