Pinoys visiting UK up 27%

Manila News Bureau Chief

MANILA — Filipinos visiting the United Kingdom grew by 27 percent between April 2013 and March 2014, the British Embassy in Manila has reported.

More than 49,000 Filipinos were issued with UK visas within that span of time, the British Embassy said.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad said the increase in number was driven by numerous enhancements to the UK visa service.

These include bigger and better visa application center in Manila with more facilities and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, which aims to promote Britain internationally by showcasing the best the country has to offer, among others.

“It is great to see our people-to-people links growing in such a way that we are seeing more Filipinos traveling to the UK not just for sightseeing but also to do business,” said Ahmad.

He added: “The GREAT campaign we launched last year showcased the UK as a destination that offers a diverse range of attractions from historical sites to modern architectural designs, world class universities and inspiring commercial enterprises.”

Ambassador Ahmad also dispelled misconceptions that it is difficult for Filipino travelers to get a UK visa.

More than 90 percent of Filipinos applying for a tourist or business visit visa have successful applications, he stressed.

The top British diplomat in Manila noted that the growth in Filipino visitors is clear evidence of the strong credentials the UK has for tourism, culture, sport, and innovation./PN