Super-fast visa service to attract rich tourists

Government aims scheme at India, Middle East and China

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The Government is looking to lure rich tourists and business executives to boost the economy with the expansion of its 24-hour fast-track visa programme, David Cameron has announced.

Launched in India last year, the super-priority service has subsequently been available in China, but will include another seven countries, including the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and Thailand, from April.

The Government is keen to boost numbers from the UAE as they spend nearly £2,500 each per visit to the UK, while 75,000 Thai visitors spent £117m in 2013 alone.

Mr Cameron thinks that relaxing the time-consuming complexities of visa rules will make Britain a more attractive destination and attract visitors from increasingly wealthy emerging economies. 

The Prime Minister confirmed the move as he headed to Australia for this weekend’s G20 summit of nations that represent more than 90 per cent of the world’s economy.

Two of those countries, South Africa and Turkey, are also included in the expanded list of same-day visas.