first_imgThe Co-Chairman of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Joe McHugh TD has supported the call of the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar for the extension of the Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland to provide a single tourist visa for people travelling to both countries.Minister Varadkar made the call when he addressed the 44th plenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in the Seanad chamber, Leinster House, Dublin, today.An extension of the Common Travel Area was one of four areas which Minister Varadkar said he would like to see pursued by the Assembly, the other three being: •a common travel area for hauliers by setting up a functional area ofBritain and Ireland for cabotage;•pursuing the delivery of mutual recognition of penalty points; and•organising a parliamentary Gathering for 2013, as part of theyear-long Gathering festival of festivals being held in Ireland nextyear.During his address Minister Varadkar said that while Ireland and Britain may not be in a position to join the Schengen area that allows tourists from the Middle East and Asia to travel to 20 European countries, Britain and Ireland should have a ‘mini-Schengen’ to mutually accept British and Irish visas.Deputy McHugh said that the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly had consistently called for easier access and freedom of movement for visitors between Britain and Ireland and that the ‘mini-Schengen’ proposal was a commonsense step to facilitate tourism and economic development.Minister Varadkar said: ‘It is my view that just as we have a CommonTravel Area for our citizens, we need to have a Common Travel Area fortourists. Our Schengen area counterparts have a huge competitiveadvantage over us. A tourist from China, for example, can get a visawhich takes in the entire Schengen area. But they will have to get aseparate visa for the United Kingdom and another one for Ireland’. “I know this is an area attracting considerable attention alreadybetween the British and Irish Governments and while there are variouslegislative and technological barriers it is something worthpursuing.”Deputy McHugh said: ‘The development of tourism is fundamental to oureconomic recovery. Significant events such as the Gathering are beingdeveloped to encourage visitors to Ireland in the coming years, andmajor marketing campaigns are taking place internationally in supportof this’.“At the same time, the Governments should also look at ways to make iteasier for visitors to access and travel between Britain and Ireland.We still have a situation where some international guests require twoseparate visas to visit Donegal and Derry. This should be addressed asa priority issue that will encourage tourism and economic developmentin both countries.” McHUGH BACKS CALLS FOR SINGLE TRAVEL AREA WITH UK TO BOOST TOURISM was last modified: May 14th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:McHUGH BACKS CALLS FOR SINGLE TRAVEL AREA WITH UK TO BOOST TOURISMlast_img read more