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UK government splits on China visa issue

UK government splits on China visa issue

UK home secretary Theresa May has questioned plans to simplify the visa application for Chinese visitors, claiming it would create a security risk.

Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, outlines plans earlier this week for an £8m extension of the GREAT marketing campaign into secondary Chinese markets in an attempt to boost visitor numbers from the country.

This would be accompanied by a “streamlining” of the visa process, Hunt added.

However, in a letter obtained by the Daily Telegraph May states she believed the move would pose a security threat.

The letter, which is written by May’s private secretary, states she believes the plan is “unacceptable”.

The plans have also been questioned by the World Travel & Tourism Council, which argued Air Passenger Duty reform would be of more benefit to the UK.

Hunt had presented the strategy earlier this week, claiming it could triple the number of Chinese visitors to the UK to 500,000 annually.

This in turn would add £500 million in revenue to the UK tourism sector, and create 14,000 jobs.

Currently, visitors can apply for a single Schengen visa to visit much of Europe - but a separate one is required to travel to the UK.