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Cameron "frustrated" by failure in simplifing visa for Chinese tourists


10:05, December 06, 2012

LONDON, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne said they are "frustrated" by the Home Office not simplifying the visa application process for Chinese tourists, Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

British politicians and retailers expressed concern in a cabinet meeting that Britain had lagged behind its European counterparts such as France in attracting Chinese tourists, who can bring huge spending to Britain at a time of weak growth and austerity.

France is reported to receive at least 25 percent more Chinese tourists annually than Britain does.

Chinese tourists can enter 25 European countries such as Germany, France and Italy, with one single Schengen visa, while they have to get a British visa separately as Britain is not a member of the Schengen agreement.

"China is one of the UK's priority markets for tourism and business and we are committed to providing an ever-improving service to support this," the Home Office has said.

Yet there seems to be little improvement on the issue. Business representative Catherine Shrimpton said Britain could attract millions in tourist spending and create tens of thousands of jobs if Britain attracted as many Chinese tourists as France.

The British government has been striving to boost domestic growth. On Wedensday, the treasury cut its forecast for economic growth in the autumn budget report to a 0.1 percent shrinkage this year and 1.2 percent growth next year.

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