Monday, July 4, 2011

Indians visiting UK can travel to Ireland without visa

From Prasun Sonwalkar London, Jul 3 (PTI) Indians visiting Britain on tourist visas will now be able to visit neighbouring Ireland without a visa, under a waiver programme. The waiver programme will run from July 1 until October 2012, a period that includes the London 2012 Olympics, when a large number of Indian and other tourists are expected to visit Britain. Currently, Indian citizens need a visa to enter Ireland. Under Ireland''s first visa-waiver programme announced in Dublin, citizens of 14 countries including China, India, and parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East will no longer need a visa for a short-term visit once they have cleared immigration in the UK during the period. The Irish government hopes it will result in extra tourism revenue especially from companies and the Olympics. The programme is designed to assist in the promotion of Ireland as a quality tourist destination for markets which hitherto would not have been regarded as traditional source countries for tourism to Ireland. Announcing the programme, Ireland''s Justice and Defence minister Alan Shatter said: "Our economic difficulties also present us with opportunities; it gives us a chance to take a fresh look at what we do and how we do it". "Dismantling barriers which act as a disincentive to potential and sought after visitors is a case in point". An official statement said: "Individuals who avail of the Programme will not be required to pay the visa charge of 60 Euros per person". Last year, Ireland approved approximately 30,000 applications for visas from nationals of these 14 countries. However, hundreds of thousands of these nationals visit the UK as tourists every year. Ireland seeks to attract this large number of tourists arriving in Britain.