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Trade associations slam proposed visa increases

Ukinbound and British Visits and Events Partnership say 2 per cent increase on visit visas will deter visitors

UKinbound and BVEP have criticised the proposed increases to visit visas

The UK will send the wrong message to international visitors if a proposed 2 per cent fee increase on visit visas gets the go-ahead, says Ukinbound and British Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP).

The trade associations have rubbished the proposal from the UK government, which could be implemented from April 2016, saying it could have a long-term detrimental effect on inbound tourism. The government says the "small increases" for visit visas, along with study and work visas, will help reduce taxpayer contributions towards the border, immigration and citizenship system.

UKinbound CEO Deirdre Wells said: “I am extremely disappointed to see that visit visas will be increased by 2 per cent and believe it will have a long-term detrimental effect on inbound tourism to the UK. 

“Even though it is a small fee increase, we at UKinbound believe that this sends the wrong message to potential overseas visitors about how much the UK values their business."

UKinbound says the government needs to encourage more inbound tourists, who contributed almost £22 billion to the economy in 2015.

BVEP chair Michael Hirst said: "I agree entirely with Ukinbound sentiments. Streamlining visa processes and facilitating arrival procedures is likely to be part of the work of the new Event Industry Board. The BVEP will also be having a presentation from UK Visas at its Partner meeting on the 8th February when this matter can also be fully discussed."

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