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Tourism Ireland

Strict visa rules causing huge problem for Irish tourism industry


Strict visa requirements for visitors from certain countries are causing “huge problems” for the tourism industry, the body representing coach operators said yesterday.

Gerry Mullins, chief executive, of the Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC) said that while the conditions are not new things have changed.

“In the past, visitors from China would not have made a difference because many were poor and not allowed out of their country. But now they are travelling by their millions and becoming richer than we are,” he said.

Newly wealthy visitors from countries such as China, India and Russia are being refused because of a “strange and stupid system”.

Documentation needed for a Chinese person applying for an Irish holiday visa include six months of bank statements and a letter from their host in Ireland stating that they will support them during their visit

“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?” Mr Mullins said business for his members was down by a quarter last year and would be down again this year. Ireland needs new markets and should be exploiting them because the traditional market in the EU, UK and US are going through a “rough time” .

He asked what was the point of the marketing undertaken by Tourism Ireland in China when there were such strict visa requirements.

One of his members recently spoke to an agent in Indonesia who said he could sell 1,000 coach tours to Ireland this year with 40 people on each tour, if it was not so difficult to get into.

“That is the equivalent of 200,000 bed nights that are lost. In just this one example, we see how our own Government is costing jobs and livelihoods.”

Strict visa rules causing huge problem for Irish tourism industry
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