Visa Processing Costs EU Over €500m
5 October 2010

Visa processing is losing the EU over €500 million a year, says the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA).

ETOA’s survey of tour operators and agents, which was conducted over the summer, focused on origin markets whose citizens must obtain a visa to visit the EU. These markets represent key growth opportunities for EU tourism.

In April 2010 new guidelines were issued to improve the processing of Schengen visas. This new research shows that significant problems remain. These also affect such non-Schengen countries as the UK and Ireland. 

Official statistics for visa refusals have been circulated. Consulates pride themselves on discovering applicants who are deemed not fit to travel. Not recorded is the large number of potential visitors who do not travel because the visa application process is too time-consuming. Despite the fact that China has been singled out as the most important growth market for Europe, 26% of all potential clients give up on the application process for Schengen Visas. This number climbs to 30% for the UK. 

This is one of several new findings. Other areas such as which specific consular authorities rate best and worst, the perception and ranking of key obstacles and how these can be improved will be discussed in detail at a seminar on 12 October in Brussels.

ETOA will bring together representatives from EU institutions, national governments, trade bodies and the industry to discuss this matter.

The seminar will commence at 11.00 am at Asbl BIP (Salle Zinneke), 2-4 rue Royale, Brussels and will finish at 5.30 pm. For further information and to register for free, please click here or contact Nick Greenfield ( for further information.

About ETOA

Since its foundation in 1989, ETOA has grown exponentially to include over 500 member organisations, of which more than 150 are Tour Operators. Collectively, ETOA represents over €5bn spending on accommodation and travel services annually.
ETOA provides representation at European government level for organisations involved in bringing tourists to Europe.  The Association promotes greater awareness of the benefits provided by the group travel industry in Europe - particularly increased income and employment. ETOA also influences European tourism policy and legislation.   

Areas of specific activity include:

  • Promoting Europe as a tourism destination
  • Establishing codes of conduct and guidelines for its members
  • Establishing commercial opportunities between buyers and sellers
  • Working with other travel & tourism associations to raise the industry's profile

To find out more, please visit


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