United Kingdom is losing tourism revenue because of complex visa application procedures

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According to VisitBritain, the Tourist Authority of United Kingdom, the country is losing billions of pounds due to the fact that the UK tourist visa system is too complex and too difficult and expensive for potential tourists from abroad. The research carried out from VisitBritain reveals that liberalization of the UK tourist visa regime may deliver up to 2,8 billion pounds of profit for the British economy. Currently, the UK tourism is the third’s largest income generator for the country after the chemical industry and the financial sector.

The annual revenues that come from tourism are estimated to be around 18 billion pounds. As a result of the significance that the tourism industry has for the economy, Prime Minister David Cameroon wants to make UK one of the top five destinations in the world. In order to accomplish this task, he intends to liberalize the British tourist visa system. Some of the areas that he promises to improve are the processing efficiency and the ability to deal with online applications.

Although a lot of promises for improvement of the visa system were made, the UK tourism bodies and companies are worried, because currently other European countries such as Germany and France are being visited by far more foreign tourists than the UK. One of the reasons is that people, who want to visit continental EU countries, must only apply for a Schengen Visa which allows them to travel across EU, while the UK visitor visa is only valid for the UK.

Furthermore, the application process for the UK tourist visa is quite complicated. It requires all applicants to answer detailed questions on their income, expenses and attitudes towards terrorism. Biometric data such as fingerprints are needed as well.

Last but not least, the UK tourist visa application form is five pages longer than the Schengen Visa form. Its length is nine pages which makes it the longest application form of any major tourist destination. A recent survey shows that 25% of the people, who started filling British visa application, are soon giving it up.

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