Europe must revise visa restrictions fast – cruise industry

Europe must act quickly to revise cumbersome visa restrictions on third country passport holders, which are costing Europe six million tourists every year and threatening its market share in the global tourism sector.

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According to UNWTO, Europe has steadily lost market share in world tourism, decreasing from a comfortable 64% in 1980 to 51% in 2010. If things remain unchanged, it is expected to fall to a level of 41% by 2030.

David Dingle, vice chairman of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe and chairman of Carnival UK urged the EU to act: “We need to maintain Europe as the World’s number one tourist destination by increasing the number of third-country tourists. But we need to act fast, otherwise the EU risks losing important contributions in terms of trade, investments and jobs at a crucial time of economic recovery.”

The cruise trade association is advocating the process to reform of the EU Visa Code as an important starting point, which the European Commission says could lead to a 60% increase in visitor numbers and generate up to €25 billion (GBP18.1 bn) in additional revenue for the EU every year.

While facilitating the entry to Europe for legitimate travellers, the CLIA Europe assured that reform of the Visa Code will not lead in any way to relaxing security procedures in Europe. The screening of visa applicants will remain stringent, and a high level of control will be maintained in ships, ports and destinations.

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