Belgium and Britain join efforts to ease Chinese visa effort

Belgium and Great Britain have joined efforts to make visa applications for Chinese visitors - tourists or businessmen alike - less complicated. Brussels and London are hoping to attract more Chinese visitors. Belgium is already enjoying a boost in Chinese tourism thanks to direct connection flights between various Chinese cities and Liège Airport.

The pilot project stipulates that Chinese visitors will only have to file one application at the British desks in Beijing, Shanghai or Canton to obtain a visa for both the United Kingdom and all countries belonging to the Schengen area (which includes most West-European countries, and also Belgium). The United Kingdom is not a member of the Schengen area at present, which complicates matters. The new conditions will apply as from 1 July.

Belgium and Britain are of course hoping to attract more Chinese tourists this way. The Belgian ambassador to China, Michel Malherbe, says that Chinese tourist figures for Belgium are booming in recent months, thanks to various direct flights between different Chinese cities and Liège Airport.

The new regulations will still mean that Chinese tourists will need two visas, but they will only have to file one application.