The Chinese visa farce continues

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The British government has been making a concerted effort to woo Chinese visitors in recent months, all of which is great news for the UK economy – we want the affluent Chinese splashing their cash in Blighty and not across the channel (as has been the case all too often over the last few years).

 

This has largely been due to an overly pedantic visa application which sees Chinese travellers forced to fill out a 30 page visa form (in English), in order to step foot on our shores. By contrast a ‘Schengen’ visa is significantly easier to obtain AND encompasses vast parts of both eastern and western Europe. Little wonder then that while so many of my former colleagues in Beijing had been to Berlin, Milan and yes Paris in their droves, not one them had touched down in London town.

Chinese

So it’s great news that the government pledged, in 2013, to improve visa processes in a bid to increase Chinese visitors to the UK. Which is why we’re shocked – nay stunned –  to learn that, from next month, ministers will double visa fees for the Chinese. Individual travellers will now be charged £100 for a visa, with business travellers having to fork out a whopping £600 for the priority business service.

 

Teresa May,take note: this is NOT how you say ni hao to the Chinese. We could and should be rolling out the welcome mat to the Middle Kingdom. In this age of austerity can we afford to be turning away citizens who think nothing of dropping £1.3 million on a puppy – the price one Chinese property developer paid for a Tibetan mastiff puppy only last week?

The answer, I am sure we can all agree, is a resounding no. Cameron, Clegg and the coalition need to show that they’re not all hot air. That they believe in action. And now –  not next month – is the time to start ding so for, at the end of the day, it’s in the country’s economic interest.

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