British-Irish Visa Scheme will help further grow visitor numbers to Ireland – Donohoe

6th October, 2014

Ireland set to avail of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the UK from China and India each year


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Monday), welcomed the launch of the new British-Irish Visa Scheme, saying the introduction of the initiative by the Irish and British Governments will help Ireland to continue to grow the number of visitors coming here from the emerging tourism markets of china and India.


Speaking following the launch, Minister Donohoe said: ‘The work carried out on behalf of both Governments by our own Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, and the British Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, has resulted in an historic and ground-breaking development in respect of how our two countries operate and co-operate. Following on from the success of the Irish Short-Stay Visa Waiver Programme, which negated the need for short-term visitors from certain countries to the UK to obtain a separate visa for Ireland, this initiative will allow tourist, business travellers and other short-stay visitors from China and India to use the same visa when travelling between our countries.


“Upon coming to office, the Government placed a priority on job creation and restoring our reputation internationally. Tourism played a central role in that. With the help of the Short-term Visa Waiver scheme, estimated visits to Ireland from China and India grew from around 25,000 in 2009 to nearly 40,000 in 2013, offering a valuable support to our tourism industry. The new British-Irish Visa Scheme will make it even easier for those numbers to continue growing, as the hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Indian visitors to the UK each year will now be able to travel to Ireland on the same visa.


“We have seen an increase for the first eight months of this year of 9.4% in visitors from overseas. In seeking to sustain and build on the progress we have been making, we must continue to identify the best ways to support and develop the sectors with the biggest potential for growth. While we will continue to hone the work we are doing in North America, the UK and in mainland Europe, now is the time to examine how best to grow market share from long-haul, emerging tourist destinations, such as China and India.


“Last week I was in London to visit tourism Ireland’s Flavours of Ireland networking event, which saw 60 Irish tourist businesses join with 100 UK inbound tour operators from across the world to focus on growing Ireland’s share of the worldwide tourism market. The British-Irish Visa scheme will be an integral part of selling Ireland overseas and encouraging those with an interest in Ireland to come and see what we have to offer.”