UK China Visa Alliance
Walpole is a founder of the UK China Visa Alliance, established in 2012 to lobby the UK government to reduce the incredibly complex and lengthy visa regulations for Chinese visitors to the UK.
In June 2015, the UKCVA launched its report Building on Progress, where the then Home Secretary Theresa May announced new measures to make it easier for all Chinese tourists to gain a UK visa to shop, spend and stay in the Capital and beyond.
Since then, the UKCVA’s focus has been on streamlining the visa application system so that it is easier for Chinese travellers to apply for both a UK and Schengen visa at the same place and time. Since we began our campaign in 2012, Chinese visitor numbers have risen from 212,000 in 2012 to 481,000 in 2016. During this period UK visitor visas issued rose by 127 per cent compared to a rise of just 7 per cent in the Schengen area and, for the first time, in 2016, the UK issued more visas in China than Italy and Germany and is now second only to France. There are wider factors at play including security and the introduction of biometrics for Schengen and there still work to be done to continue to increase numbers.
Walpole and the UKCVA are now agreeing a new programme of work to capitalise on this progress and increase further Chinese visitor numbers.