VisitBritain "delighted" to see relaxation in Gulf visa rules

Britain’s official tourist authority has welcomed a scheme which will allow visitors from the Gulf to enter Britain without having to apply for a visit visa.

According to travelweekly.co.uk, the government has allowed Emirati, Omani and Qatari passport holders to obtain a free electronic visa waiver (EVW) to enter the UK.

Rather than having to apply for a visit visa weeks before they travel, the new system allows visitors to enter the UK by filling in and printing a short online form 48 hours before they set off.

UK border control announced the change in response to figures which showed the number of business visitors and tourists requiring a visa to Britain rising by 15 per cent over the last year.

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe highlighted that 2012 saw a record 37 per cent rise in spending from Gulf tourists, up to a record £3,555 per visitor, and said the move will carry huge benefits for British hospitality. 

She told conference-news.co.uk: “We know there is already a huge aspiration to travel to Britain to shop and to enjoy our attractions and events, so we’re delighted that the recent visa changes will make it easier to get here and to come more often.”

Ms Dawe added that if current trends continue, Britain may well see another record year for Arab visitors in 2013.