Streamlining UK visa process 'could boost economy'

18 Apr 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Streamlining the UK visa process could help to boost the country's economy, especially the tourism sector.

This is the view expressed by David Scowsill, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Speaking at the council's annual summit in Tokyo, Mr Scowsill suggested that several major world powers are losing out on economic growth by failing to ease their visa requirements.

In conjunction with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the WTTC will present the G20 leaders with a dossier clarifying just how much their country could gain by scrapping or streamlining their visa processes.

The UK is among the countries that could benefit from such changes and the call to simplify the system is particularly relevant given the 100 day countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Games - during which a well-organised and fair immigration system will prove vital.

Mr Scowsill put paid to concerns regarding terrorism and relaxed immigration regulations. The Telegraph reported him as stating: “We cannot allow the interior ministries and security forces to block this. Every terrorist incident in the last 20 years has been perpetrated by a home-grown terrorist or someone with a right to live in that country.”

With regards to the UK, the president also flagged up the issue of Air Passenger Duty, which is reportedly dissuading people from visiting and doing business with Britain. The tax, he claims, has already cost some 91,000 jobs and has also damaged certain economies that have missed out on business from the UK due to the added expense.