UK visa: new steps to woo Chinese visitors?
London: Britain has undertaken special measures such as a priority service for visa delivery within five days to improve its visa service in China, which has more visa application centres than any other country.
Official sources here said that in 2011, 30 percent more visas were issued to Chinese visitors than in 2010.
More agents have also been accredited by the UK Border Agency to expand the dedicated service provided to tourist groups.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "We welcome the strong growth in Chinese visitors to the UK, it shows the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for both tourism and business.
"China is one of the UK's priority markets for tourism and business and we are committed to providing an ever improving service to support this".
These improvements will support a new 8 million pounds investment in tourism from China announced by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport on Wednesday.
Green added: "We've already introduced a number of service enhancements to ensure a good customer experience and are constantly seeking improvements so that our service continues to rival that offered by our European neighbours".
Improvements made by UKBA to the visa service in China include: 150 additional visa officers to assist during the peak summer period; online application forms to streamline the visa application process; 72 agents providing a dedicated service for tourist groups through the Approved Destination Scheme (ADS), which saw a 164 per cent increase in the number of Chinese tourists travelling under the scheme between 2009 to 2011.
The sources added that the improvements included upgrading of the three busiest visa application centres in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to meet increasing demand, including VIP facilities for Premium Visa service customers.
Besides, UKBA has also set up an online appointment system to reduce customer waiting times at application centres and a Chinese language website.