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Prime Ministers David Cameron and Enda Kenny photographed outside 10 Downing Street. The Republic of Ireland and the UK are to cooperate to create a more attractive destination for long-haul travelers. Photo by: Zimbio.com

British and Irish governments pilot single travel visa to boost tourism

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Prime Ministers David Cameron and Enda Kenny photographed outside 10 Downing Street. The Republic of Ireland and the UK are to cooperate to create a more attractive destination for long-haul travelers. Photo by: Zimbio.com

The Irish and British governments are planning a pilot single visa scheme, for the two countries, in a bid to boost tourism figures. The proposed visa would make the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom more attractive destinations to China.

The Republic and the UK can benefit from greater economic cooperation, according to a report commissioned by the two governments and carried out by PA Consulting and Cambridge Econometrics.

The report indicates that the Republic and the UK need to make themselves more attractive to visitors from long-haul destinations, specifically those from China, who are known to be big-spenders.

Globally the tourism industry is set to grow by 50 percent by 2030. Half of these travellers with come from China.

In 2011 the Republic waived visa requirements for tourist for 17 non-EU countries, including China, as long as the travellers had obtained UK visas. This agreement proved to be a success with a 21 percent increase in visitors from those states over the first year. Ireland has already extended this agreement until 2016.

The British Ambassador to Ireland, Dominick Chilcott, told the Irish Times the governments expect to pilot the new common travel visa later this year.

The report indicates that the Republic and the UK are failing to attract business from China thus far. So far France attracts 25 percent more Chinese tourists than Britain.

The findings also suggest that both countries could exploit English language training as a selling tool, as their is a high demand for this in Asia.

The report, which will be published soon, follow a statement of cooperation issued by the country’s Prime Ministers Enda Kenny and David Cameron in 2012. Researchers working on the report spoke to policy makers, experts and business people when compiling the report.

Before this joint visa can become a reality the two countries will need to agree on common application centers and on issues such as electronic fingerprinting and security.

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