Chester is a tourist City – the Romans stopped by a few hundred years ago, we have our famous Walls, the Rows and the oldest racecourse in Britain.
It is a little sad then to discover that to discover that Britain’s tourism industry is already suffering because of the prospect of a ban on European visitors travelling to the UK using an identity card.
According to the Government’s own website during 2021 we will stop accepting national ID cards for entry to the UK for EEA citizens” But according to the European Tourism Association the move is already deterring visitors. If we place an extra barrier on tourists from Europe it is not surprising that they will choose instead to travel to any of the 27 other countries of the EU that they can visit with their ID card. Why would those tourists go to the extra expense of obtaining a passport just to visit a country that places barriers in their path?
At a session at the World Travel Market, 2019 delegates were told that European visitors are concerned about both the red tape involved in post-Brexit travel to the UK and the warmth of the welcome. Many Chester residents, especially those involved in the tourism industry, will certainly do their best to provide a warm welcome, but we are powerless to prevent another layer of travel bureaucracy deterring people coming in the first place.
Except – we haven’t left yet. In just a few days we will elect a new set of MPs. We can only hope that they will recognise the importance of tourism to our country and put a stop to this Brexit nonsense.