THE JUSTICE MINISTER has said that new visa arrangements between the UK and China will have a knock-on effect for the Irish tourism sector.
Under the Irish Visa Waiver Programme, which was commenced in 2011, tourists of 17 countries, including China, can freely travel to Ireland. This week, UK Chancellor George Osborne revealed plans to make the UK more accessible to Chinese tourists, which Shatter says will attract “tens of thousands” of Chinese tourists to our shores.
“The UK announcement is to be welcomed as a very positive development as the more Chinese visitors there are to the UK the broader the pool of potential visitors to Ireland who can avail of the Irish Visa Waiver Programme.
“It is anticipated that the changes the UK is making to their visa processes will encourage more Chinese visitors to come here on business or as tourists.”
Shatter added that the existence of the Common Travel Area with the UK was responsible for the scheme being available and he hoped to reciprocate the move with UK authorities.
In what will be the most fundamental and important development in the operation of the Common Travel Area since the foundation of the State, this historic initiative has the potential to attract ten of thousands of additional visitors to Ireland every year. This unprecedented opportunity for Ireland will further cement our global position as a top international tourism and business destination.