The Irish Tourism board is entering into a new Dual Visa Scheme with the British authorities to help increase visitors from the further flung countries of the globe. Currently visitors from China, India, Brazil and other regions are required to obtain separate Irish and British visas to make a trip to Ireland and Britain, respectively.
The new initiative to collaborate with Britain will allow visitors with a British or Irish Visa to make the short trip over to Ireland and vice versa. It is hoped that this will greatly increase tourism by allowing visitors on vacation in Ireland to use the dual visa, and have the chance to visit both countries on what might be their one and only holiday of such a great distance from home.
The current visa programme, which expires in 2016, only allows 16 countries outside the E.U to travel between Britain and Ireland and each country’s government are working closely together to roll out the new scheme by then.
Under currently legislation Brazilian tourists are unable to travel between the two countries on one visa and it considered that this impacts detrimentally to Irish tourism and its economy. The new scheme plans to combat this problem and can only be beneficial to both countries involved.
A spokesman for the Irish Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, said that “work is ongoing” between the Department of Justice and the British Home Office “on the development of reciprocal short-stay common travel area visa arrangements which would allow tourists and business visitors to travel to the common travel area, with first arrival in either jurisdiction, and thereafter to travel freely between Ireland and Britain”.
The market for tourists from China and India has been steadily growing over the past few years and the initial trails will be aimed at that market. Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, went on to say:
“Chinese tourists tend to spend more than most other tourists – and they also stay here for longer… They are into luxury branded goods – those goods can be bought here for a third the price you’ll pay in China. India is another important market for us – it has a population of 1.2bn and they have a rapidly growing middle-class.”
Ireland looks forward to the new visa system, and as of recent Irish Tourism has been generating high success with events such as “The Gathering 2013” and recent visits from The Queen and Barrack Obama all helping Ireland to becoming a world renowned favourite holiday destination for tourists worldwide.