UKinbound, the trade association representing the interests of the UK’s inbound tourism sector, has damned the government’s latest visa announcement that recommends the introduction of visitor visas for tourists from Brazil.
Commenting on the announcement, UKinbound chief executive, Mary Rance said: “This is such a disappointing and retrograde step from the Government. Last year, it seemed like progress was being made in this area as visa restrictions for Chinese visitors were lightened, but now it really does feel like one step forward and two steps back.
“Visas are recognised as one of the biggest barriers to inbound tourism and adding to this with restrictions for the Brazilian market is not going to be conducive to the UK economy. Brazil has been identified as one of VisitBritain’s key growth markets for 2020 and we should be encouraging visitors from this ever-expanding economy, not introducing a barrier that will act as a deterrent.
“Over the past 10 years, visitor numbers from Brazil have increased by more than 250% and it has been the only BRIC country to not have UK visitor visa regulations in place. This is not a coincidence. Our competitors in the Schengen zone do not have a comparable visa restriction, so why introduce a barrier to growth in the UK where there currently is not one.
“The Government need to focus on relaxing the complexity of the visa process and make the UK a competitive destination, not hinder tourism further.”