Following the news that prime minister David Cameron will introduce ‘same-day’ business visas to Indian investors, the Business Visits & Events Partnership is calling on the government to go further.
The proposed changes are unlikely to influence increased attendance at conferences, exhibitions and events in Britain due to the limited categories of business visitors to which the new rules will apply.
However, the events industry has been pushing for a special event visa to be issued to delegates and attendees at events where there are over 2,000 visitors expected.
Such a visa would follow a similar format to the visas issued to the Olympic family during the 2012 London Games.
The visa would highlight the purpose of the visit and enable attendees to be processed in a streamlined way and accorded special facilities as identified guests to the special event they are attending.
“The Olympics and Paralympics have shown how beneficial it is to issue special visas to dedicated groups.
“Britain has also issued special visas in the past at short notice to attendees of football championships as well.
“Extending this practice to all large-scale events would help the issue process and create opportunities for a special welcome at entry points,” said Michael Hirst, chair of the BVEP.
“This could be a real legacy benefit from the Olympics, helping the government to secure the £2.5 billion that was estimated to emanate from the visitor economy post games apart from the boost to trade and exports generated from visitors to conferences, trade fairs and other events staged in Britain,” Hirst added.
The proposals for a special event visa were one of the key recommendations from the Subvention Report made by the partnership last year.
World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill earlier called on the UK to join the Schengen System in order to boost tourism.