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Ireland and Britain seek to boost tourist numbers with common visa

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IRELAND is hoping to boost its number of tourists this summer amid plans to create a common travel area between Britain and Ireland for non-EU visitors.

Details for the new scheme are currently being finalised by the British and Irish Governments, but it will allow international tourists and business visitors to travel to Ireland on a British visa.

The deal, which effectively creates a common travel area across the islands, will be applicable to visitors from any country outside of the EU and is set to become a permanent fixture once implemented this summer.

A spokesman for the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, confirmed this week that the discussion was on-going between the Department of Justice and the British Home Office.

He added: “Work is ongoing on the development of reciprocal short-stay common travel area visa arrangements which would allow tourists and business visitors to travel to the common travel area, with first arrival in either jurisdiction, and thereafter to travel freely between Ireland and Britain”.

Chinese and Indian tourists are expected to be among the first to travel under the new scheme.

The department spokesperson explained: “It is planned for the worldwide rollout of these arrangements to commence in mid-2014 with China, as the priority location for Ireland, to be the first country to be covered by the reciprocal arrangements.”

They added: “India is also a priority for Ireland for inclusion in the early phases of rollout.”

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Fiona Audley
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Fiona Audley is Managing Editor with The Irish Post. You can follow her on Twitter @fifiaudley

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