Bahrain gets British e-visa waiver status | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain gets British e-visa waiver status

TDT | Manama

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Staff Reporter

Bahrain will join other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with electronic visa waiver status, the Home Office has announced. The move will maintain security and effective border processes ensuring necessary security checks are carried out ahead of travel whilst enabling smooth transit through the UK border for visitors.

An electronic visa waiver allows the holder to travel to the UK without obtaining a visa provided they complete an online waiver for each visit. A small fee will be applied, and it is quicker than applying for a visa as there is no need to provide biometric information (photo and fingerprints), attend a visa application centre or hand in your passport in advance of travel.

In a statement issued to the media, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This visa waiver for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will better connect the people of our countries and boost economic prosperity. “The electronic visa waiver is a quick, digital alternative to the regular visit visa and ensures all the necessary security checks are carried out in advance of travel.

“The visa improvements announced today will provide greater security for our citizens while making it easier and cheaper for visitors from the Gulf to travel here for leisure and business.” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “This visa waiver will strengthen our relationships with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, making it easier for visitors from the Gulf to come to the UK.

“Our friendships with both countries are of great importance, built on shared priorities such as trade, investment and security.” Tourism in the UK contributes immensely to the economy, there was a total expenditure of British Pound 22.9 billion (2019 figures) and 37.9 million tourists.

The average spend per visit is British Pound 604 with an average length stay of seven nights. Although the UK is a small country, it still accounts for 3.8 percent of global tourism receipts and is the fifth top tourism earner in 2019.

According to experts, the UK travel industry must improve its image in order to lure back a new wave of tourists as well as travel industry staff following Brexit. Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive Julia Lo Bue Said called on the government to help the industry address its current staffing crisis through investment in graduate programmes and apprenticeships in the sector.

She admitted the industry had “an image issue” but stressed: “We have an opportunity to get the best talent. We have got great careers. We need to grow that profile and attract that talent. This is a long-term issue.” She called on the government to help the industry address its current staffing crisis through investment in graduate programmes and apprenticeships in the sector.