Visa Restrictions To Be Eased For Indians To Promote Britain's Tourism Industry

13 Aug 2010


On Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to make the system of issuance of visas faster and cheaper for Indians. This is an initiative to promote Britain’s tourism industry amid surge in cash-rich Indian visitors shopping in London’s plush West End. There has recently been pressure from the British capital's West End and Knightsbridge stores on the UK government to ease visa formalities for visitors from India to enable well-off Indians take advantage of shopping opportunities.

Mr.Cameron said that the tourism industry contributed £115 billion to the national economy annually. Easing the visa process is a way to boost tourism in the coming years.

He said: “We’re going to remove some of the obstacles that put people off coming here, for example, by working more closely with our international partners to improve the local delivery of visa services in key markets like China and India.”

He said online applications for visas will be increased from one third to 75 per cent by 2011, with 100 per cent coverage by 2014.

A spokesman for the 'Visit Britain' campaign said, "India is terribly important. Prime Minister Cameron even indicated that visa fee may be lowered, thus making it more attractive for Indians to come to the UK."

The British PM said, "I want to see us in the top five destinations in the world. But that means being much more competitive internationally." According to UN figures, Britain is in sixth place, behind France, the US, Spain, China and Italy. He then joked, "If we can't always beat Germany at football, then we can beat them at tourism."


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