Essay Sample on New Regulations and the Impact on UK’s Tourism

National security is of the utmost importance to every nation throughout the world. Keeping citizens safe is generally the first responsibility of the government, and while some do it more efficiently than others, almost all strive to ensure all who live within its borders are able to do so comfortably and safely. To know more about individuals entering the country, the UK recently altered its immigration laws, requiring citizens of different nations to obtain a visa before granting admission. Although this is in the best interest of the citizens, it also is destined to have a serious affect on the tourism and hospitality industry inside the United Kingdom, possibly costing the country hundreds of millions of pounds, each and every year. Obtaining a visa is required for entering the United Kingdom as a tourist. Without the ability to obtain the visa, it is not possible to enjoy the hotels, restaurants and other sights the country has to offer. The new laws relating to tourist visas directly impacts every single aspect of the hospitality business in the country, as fewer tourists means a reduction in the size of the hospitality sector, possibly crippling the entire industry. When millions of individuals are not allowed to become tourists, it directly affects the tourism industry.
As David Browne (2009) points out, the UK recently implemented tougher new visa laws for visitors coming to the country. The majority of the changes are geared towards citizens of countries who never needed a visa prior, including South Africa. This is rather controversial as South Africa originated as a British colony and didn’t gain domestic and external autonomy (State 2012) until 1929. Most citizens from other former colonies of the British Empire do not need a visa for entrance, which is why the requirement of South African citizens is so surprising and controversial.
Outside of South African, new visa laws are in place for Bolivia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Venezuela (UKBA 2012). The United Kingdom is doing this as it sees these countries, in addition to South Africa, as locations from which terrorists are more likely to originate from. Other nations the United Kingdom has on its possible terrorist list already have strict visa requirements. It is all part of the UK government spending over 2.2 billion pounds in the 2009-2010 fiscal year for securing the borders and improving the immigration system. The government believes it is able to make up roughly 30 percent of the 2.2 billion pounds through the new visa fees. The current cost for visitor visas into the United Kingdom are going up from 65 pounds to 67, and a direct airside transit visa is adjusting from 45 to 46. On top of this, the United Kingdom has implemented new rules to make it more difficult to qualify for visas and admission into the country, regardless of the nation of origin.
There are some worrying the new laws regarding visas, especially those for individuals out of South Africa, are likely to hinder the tourism and hospitality industry, although the exact severity of the situation is not yet known. David Browne points out almost 300,000 visitors from South Africa make the trip to the UK each and every year, spending roughly 232 million pounds. Since the year 2000, visitors from South Africa have averaged between 260,000 and 319,000 every year. This is sure to reduce the total number of visitors coming from South Africa (and, to an extent, the other nations with the new visa requirements as well), and as the new visa requirements went into affect in 2009, numbers are beginning to come out showing just how much lost revenue the country is seeing in the hospitality and tourism sector.
According to Steven Williams (2012) of the BBC, the tougher tourist visa application process has cost the country 2.8 billion pounds since its implication in 2009. Visit Britain, the country’s tourism authority points out the new laws making it more difficult to obtain a visa, let alone requiring citizens from new countries to apply for a visa, is drastically affecting the third leading generator of foreign income (after chemicals and financial services). David Cameron, the current UK prime minister said he wants the tourism leaders to do more in order to attract additional foreign visitors, and he envisions the UK becoming one of the top five destinations in the world.
Steven Williams continues to compare the UK with other leading economical countries in Europe, including Germany and France. France welcomes eight times as many Chinese tourists, while Germany brings in six times as many. Chinese tourists are important to the hospitality business as they are known for being heavy-spending visitors. This large number of visitors to European countries occurs because individuals only need to apply for a single visa, granting them access to all of the participating nations. The United Kingdom is not one of these nations. The visa application for the UK is far more complicated and even intrusive, preventing citizens from dozens of high-profile countries in search of alternative vacation destinations.
The tourism industry is an important financial asset to most economic nations, as these countries welcome individuals from across the globe to see the original sites, take part in the culture and experience new locations with easy means of transportation, dining and readily available hotels. As Lockwood and Medlik (2011) points out, the tourism industry in the 21st century is incredibly important for any economy, because it brings in money from foreign sources. When trading occurs domestically, it requires the exchange of currency and goods inside the country, which is productive, but when it comes from a foreign source, the money is an influx and helps pump additional funds into the national economy. As the UK is losing billions of pounds a year, this is not a strong situation and it points towards necessary adjustments in the British tourism industry. Ritzer (2011) goes even further to explain in The McDonaldization of Society (although primarily based upon the United States) how federal governments are implementing new laws and regulations in order to maintain social control and not to necessarily help out the local financial industries.
In order to cut losses in the sector until the government is able to simplify the visa application process, several different tourism groups are attempting to implement changes to ensure companies throughout the hospitality industry in Great Britain are able to survive. The South West Tourism Alliance (2012) is producing cost cutting measures, such as helping hotels fine sustainable services to slash prices. This includes the move from disposable shampoo bottles to reusable options in the rooms. Recycling services are also becoming more affective, as it cuts down on the cost of waste removal. This follows the examples put forth by J. Christopher Holloway (2011) in The Business of Tourism. In the text, Holloway points out the overall socio-cultural impact on tourism and the future developments of the hospitality business. Holloway looks at greener, more energy efficient and sustainable ways to improve upon the sector. Moving towards reusable and recyclable services are just some of the options he suggests.
As Jonathan J. Li (2011) of the New York Times suggests, the UK didn’t take into full consideration what the adjustments of visa laws may do to the overall tourism industry, let alone other sectors in the country, such as education. Both educational structures and hospitality businesses suffer due to the new regulations, as fewer individuals, especially those from Asian based nations, are allowed to enter the country. As citizens of these nations typically flood the UK, United States and Europe for both education and tourism purposes, these people are now more likely to adjust their plans and head for the U.S. or neighboring European countries, costing Great Britain in multiple ways. This is exactly what Claire Capon (2009) points out in her book Understanding the Business Environment. She details how important it is to take into consideration every aspect of a business decision, before ever moving forward. In the United Kingdom’s case, it only looked at national security and what it might make off of the visa requirements, not how much it might cost the tourism and hospitality industry inside the country.
The tourism industry is an important business for the United Kingdom, yet it is often overlooked. Palmer and Hartley (2009) suggest there are many factors to identify in the business environment, yet the federal government doesn’t always do so. Wetherly and Otter (2011) agree and suggest further areas in globalization and sustainability, which must drive business actions. The problem is the UK government did not look into all of these issues before implementing the new visa laws. Currently, these laws are drastically affecting the tourism and hospitality industry; so in order for these businesses to survive and return back to pre-visa law adjustments, new sustainable practices must take place to cut costs, yet still provide exceptional service.

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