Welcomes UK announced visa changes for Chinese nationals as good news for Irish tourism and business sectors

The United Kingdom Government’s announcement of changes to the UK visa application process for visitors from China is to be welcomed as good news for Ireland and a boost for the Irish tourism and business sectors, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD, said today.

Minister Shatter said, "The measures announced by the UK Government are targeted at increasing visitors from China to the UK which is also a key priority for Ireland as an aid to economic growth."

"As a pro-tourism and business initiative, in July 2011 I introduced the Irish Visa Waiver Programme which has already been a notable success in increasing the number of visits to Ireland from China by over 30%."

"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."

The Minister also said, "Increased visitors to the UK would be of little benefit to Ireland but for the existence of the Common of Travel Area which we share with the UK. Both countries have a shared purpose to preserve and strengthen the Common Travel Area arrangement and together we are working to maximise its immense potential to contribute to the prosperity and security of both countries."

"Building on the success of the Irish Visa Waiver Programme, my Department in partnership with the UK Home Office is developing reciprocal Common Travel Area visa arrangements which it is planned to commence in 2014. Under these new arrangements all tourists, business and other legitimate visitors will be able to travel to the Common Travel Area on either an Irish or UK visa and subsequently to travel freely between the two jurisdictions."

"In what will be the most fundamental and important development in the operation of the Common Travel Area since the foundation of 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."

16 October 2013



Note for Editors

Under the Irish Visa Waiver Programme the nationals of 17 countries including China who have a UK visit visa can also travel to Ireland without having to apply for a separate Irish visa. Data provided by Tourism Ireland indicates that as a result of the introduction of the waiver programme the number of trips to Ireland by residents of the countries covered by the programme has increased by more than 30%. New Tour Operator programmes alone have contributed to an additional 6,000 Chinese nationals travelling to Ireland.