Visa Waiver for holders of Olympic Accreditation to bolster Olympic tourism spin-off in County Clare – BREEN.

March 16th, 2012 - Pat Breen

Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade & Clare T.D. Pat Breen said that today’s decision by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter T.D. to accept the Olympic accreditation document issued by the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) to competitors, coaches, officials and media representatives in lieu of an Irish Visa will provide an Olympic Tourism Spin-off for County Clare.

“The waiver applies to visits or transit through Ireland for the period leading up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this summer. The waiver period begins on the 30th March 2012 next and will conclude on the 8th November 2012.”

“This measure is a very welcome development as it will facilitate teams and other persons who will be attending the Olympics in London to visit Ireland. There is huge potential for the Tourism Sector here in County Clare to benefit from this move particularly given that those intending to travel here are only permitted to do so at two Irish Airports, one of which is Shannon International Airport.”

“This Government is determined to put in place the necessary supports and changes to our immigration system in order to encourage and grow our tourism and business related activity here. As well as today’s decision to waive visa requirements for holders of Olympics Accreditation, Minister Shatter announced yesterday that the Irish Short-Stay Visa Waiver Programme has been extended for a further four years. Given the very successful recent visit of the Chinese Vice President Mr Xi Xingping to County Clare, the extension of the short stay visa is an integral part of our strategy to build on this very successful visit by encouraging a greater share of Chinese Tourists to visit here.”

“There has been a very positive impact world-wide following the initial introduction of this Scheme and in view of the fact that we are currently preparing for “The Gathering” next year when up to 325,000 extra visitors are expected to travel here during the year- long festivities; the extension of the Visa Waiver Programme is a major boost for the tourism Industry.”

“As well as the existing list of 16 Countries already covered by the Scheme, Bosnia and Herzegovina have been added and in an additional move aimed at encouraging tourism, the fee for visa will be waived for long-term residents from the countries covered by the Programme who live in the Schengen area and this will be reviewed after six months.”