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06 Dec 2018

European Travel Commission Suggests Visa Facilitation for Chinese Travelers to Europe

European Travel Commission Suggests Visa Facilitation for Chinese Travelers to EuropeThe European Travel Commission has suggested that visa facilitation for Chinese travelers to Europe, would benefit the EU.

According to a newly published report of the ETC on the potential impacts of visa facilitation for Chinese travelers on the European tourism, a full visa liberalization scenario would generate an additional €12.5bn inbound spending per year.

“Visa facilitation policy has clear benefits to destinations of promoting ease of travel and raising visitor volumes… Greater visitor volumes result in higher spending within a destination and subsequent impacts on GDP and employment,” the report reads, highlighting the importance of visa facilitation policies.

The report lists the types of visa facilitation policies that could be applied to Chinese travelers, as follows:

Scenario 1: Reduced Fees, Extended Visa Validity

The first scenario that the Travel Commission proposes is the facilitation of the process for obtaining a Schengen visa. It includes measures as:

  • Reducing the fees for a visa
  • Extending visa’s validity period
  • Requiring fewer documents for visa application

The European TC analyzed 28 case studies, which showed the impact that facilitations of this kind had in tourism.

“The overwhelming majority of cases suggest a growth premium of less than 10% per annum following policy changes,” the report concludes.

Scenario 2: New Visa Types

The TC analyzed another 57 case studies in which there were created new visa types as a measure for visa facilitation. Included were 24 cases of electronic visas and 33 cases of visa on arrival.

“Key case studies for analysis were Turkey and Australia which have successfully opened borders to a wide range of source markets through the use of new visa types,” the report explains.

Further, it estimates that the annual average growth would be 8% higher per annum in the years following the imposition of one of these new visa types.

“Improvements in available visa types (e.g., visa on arrival or e-Visa) would likely result in Chinese arrivals to Europe being 17% higher in 2023 than if there was no policy change, equating to 4.4mn additional arrivals in 2023 and equivalent to 0.7% increase in total arrivals,” the report concludes.

Scenario 3: Visa-free Travel

Moving China under the list of Schengen visa-exempt countries’ would benefit the member countries most. According to the report, which based its observation in 35 case studies, full visa liberalization would likely yield 71% increase in Chinese arrivals to Europe.

“Full visa liberalization would generate additional inbound spending of €12.5bn of spend per annum, 2.9% higher than the baseline by 2023. T&T’s contribution to Europe’s GDP would be 1.0% higher with a total employment uplift of 0.9%, representing 237,000 additional jobs, including 120,000 directly within the T&T sector,” the report reads.

A press release of the European Travel Commission regarding the report estimates that China is world’s largest outbound travel market, both in terms of arrivals and total travel expenditure.

The European Travel Commission is an association of National Tourism Organizations, active for 70 years now. It was established under the purpose of promoting Europe as a tourist destination outside the continent. It currently has 34 members, eight of which are non-EU countries.

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