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Last Updated:[15-02-2010 00:35:42 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Irish Visa Rules Restrict Potential Tourists

tradenews The head of the representative body for private bus operators in Ireland has said that the country’s stringent visa requirements from certain countries were not allowing more job creation and perk up the economy. Gerry Mullins chief executive of the Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC) said due to a “strange and stupid system”, which restricts new wealthy visitors from China, India and Russia, was holding back tourism growth in the country.

The CTTC is the representative body for Independent coach operators of Ireland which provides first class passenger transport to domestic and overseas visitors. Likewise, Mullins is one of the key figures who lobbies for change in national and the EU transportation policy.

As per current Irish visa regulations, a visa aspirant should provide documents including six months of bank statements, a letter from one’s employer or educational institution stating one would return, and a letter from one’s host. Mullins argues “Can you imagine booking a room in a Dublin hotel, and then asking the receptionist if the hotel would forward a letter saying they will support you during your visit?”

The CTTC chief criticized that “effectively, we tell them to go away, and spend their money in some other country.” During his tirade he felt the restrictions would not have made a difference in the past because many from the emerging tourist markets could not have afforded any such visits then. But he informed Ireland had not woken up to the reality that people from China and prospective new markets were travelling by their millions and becoming richer than them.

It has been noticed that business has significantly reduced owing to recession in Ireland’s traditional tourism markets such as the EU, the UK and the US. The Irish tourism industry feels there should be relaxation on visa norms at least to potential new markets to boost the economy. Incidentally, nationalities of 88 countries do not need a visa to travel to Ireland.

By Jose Roy

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