UK post-Brexit border plans will cut tourists to Northern Ireland, MPs told – POLITICO

British plans to require overseas guests to Northern Ireland to safe advance Electronic Travel Authorizations will hurt the U.Ok. area’s efforts to tempt vacationers throughout the Irish border, trade chiefs have informed MPs.

The plans, contained within the U.Ok.’s Nationality and Borders Bill, would imply that the lots of of hundreds of American vacationers who land yearly at Dublin Airport would wish to finish on-line kinds and pay charges earlier than they may journey legally to Belfast barely 100 miles away. Such journeys presently are seamless.

Foreign vacationers and tour firms lengthy shunned Northern Ireland due to its violence and instability. But the 1998 peace accord that capped “The Troubles” dedicated the Irish authorities to encourage guests so as to add the north to their itineraries. Dublin and Belfast collectively created an all-island company targeted on this aim, Tourism Ireland.

Britain’s post-Brexit invoice to create a brand new on-line system for guests to the U.Ok. will needlessly complicate that effort, tourism leaders informed the House of Commons committee on Northern Ireland.

They stated the Conservatives’ England-centric proposals ignore the truth that the majority overseas vacationers, together with greater than three-quarters of Americans, go to Northern Ireland solely as an tour from the Republic of Ireland. These embrace spur-of-the-moment journeys by practice, bus or rental automobile to go to Belfast’s Titanic attraction or “Game of Thrones” filming places.

“People want hassle-free travel. If anything is perceived to be an additional obstacle or barrier, people will stay within the Republic of Ireland where they can travel around and won’t need any additional administration or cost,” stated Joanne Stuart, chief government of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance.

Tourism Ireland government Shane Clarke, who oversees the company’s efforts to spice up visits to Northern Ireland, stated it had simply surveyed a dozen tour operators in Ireland, France, Germany and the U.S. about Britain’s intention to require vacationers visiting Ireland to pay for Electronic Travel Authorizations earlier than touring north.

All expressed “incredulity that this was being proposed,” he stated, forecasting that tour operators confronted with new “barriers and uncertainties” would scrub Northern Ireland from their circuits in favor of Cork, Kerry and Galway.

This can be “extremely damaging to Northern Ireland,” he stated, “because it’s a very exciting part of the island of Ireland itinerary but it’s not a standalone destination.”

He highlighted different impracticalities, corresponding to the truth that visits to elements of the Republic of Ireland’s personal Wild Atlantic Way coast, notably Donegal within the northwest, imply driving via Northern Ireland to get there.

Defending the coverage, Immigration Minister Kevin Foster informed the committee the U.Ok. was merely searching for to duplicate the sorts of on-line journey necessities already in pressure within the United States, Australia and New Zealand and quickly to go reside for guests from non-visa third nations to the European Union.

He stated Northern Ireland couldn’t have totally different journey documentation guidelines than these which apply in Britain.

“We are the United Kingdom government. We are not the Great Britain government,” he stated, stressing that London was liaising with Dublin to make the long run operation of the Electronic Travel Authorization regime so simple as doable.

“Our default position is that everyone who isn’t a U.K. or Irish national will need to have it.”

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