VisitBritain has decided to instill some optimism in travel agents and tourists dreaming of a trip to Britain. What is happening in the country now, who are they waiting for after the restrictions have been lifted, and what do Russians miss the most in Britain? You will learn about this and not only from our article, as well as from VisitBritain webinar on the Profi.Travel platform on March 30.

VisitBritain has decided to instill some optimism in travel agents and tourists dreaming of a trip to Britain. What is happening in the country now, who are they waiting for after the restrictions have been lifted, and what do Russians miss the most in Britain? You will learn about this and not only from our article, as well as from VisitBritain webinar on the Profi.Travel platform on March 30.

Three reasons to believe in the imminent revival of tourism

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but Britain is optimistic about a recovery in tourism by summer 2021. There are reasons for this. First, a plan has been developed to exit the lockdown. Changes in the tourism industry are expected in the third phase of the plan: the authorities are going to revise the rules for international travel. At the same time, it is planned to open restaurants and hotels.

The second important step is the start of mass vaccination, according to which the entire adult population of the country will be vaccinated by the beginning of June. This will help create a collective immunity that will allow both the British themselves to cross the border and tourists. And the third important reason to believe in the speedy recovery of tourism is the support of the industry by the government.

Tatiana Khoreshok, Russia and Eastern Europe Manager VisitBritainTatiana Khoreshok, Manager for Russia and Eastern Europe at VisitBritain:

“As the UK Tourism Authority, it is our top priority to support the recovery of the tourism business.”

Debunking myths about the difficulty of obtaining a UK visa

There is an opinion that getting a visa to Britain is difficult, expensive and time consuming. Therefore, there are those who deny themselves the cherished journey. In this article, we would like to dispel the myth that a visa to Britain is difficult. This is not the case for a long time. “Now it is not as difficult to apply and obtain a British visa as the stereotype says. In recent years, the process of obtaining a visa has become much easier, and the refusal rate for Russians is one of the lowest in the world, ”notes Tatyana Khoreshok.

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The process itself is now debugged and convenient: a tourist fills out an online application form, uploads scans of documents and pays the visa fee. Then, at the appointed time, he comes to the visa center in order to provide his biometric data. Visa applications can be submitted up to three months prior to travel. And the visa itself at the first application is issued multiple-entry – for 6 months. The whole process, including a visit to the visa center, takes no more than two hours. And if your tourists have any questions, they can use the convenient chatbot created by the British Embassy.

Note that now the UK visa centers in Russia work in a reduced mode: in Moscow and St. Petersburg – from Monday to Wednesday, and in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Rostov-on-Don – two days a week, but from April three days – from Monday through Wednesday. At the webinar, you will also learn about all the services of the Visa Application Centers.

Can you fly to the UK right now?

Until April 16, the Russian government suspended flights between Russia and the UK, but it is possible to get into the country through third countries. However, one must remember that the list of requirements for those arriving from abroad is quite large. Let’s name the main ones:

  • Mandatory negative test for COVID-19, done no earlier than 72 hours before departure.
  • Passenger Locator Form completed no earlier than 48 hours in advance.
  • Self-isolation at home or in a hotel. If a passenger arrives from a country on the “red list”, then he is obliged to observe quarantine in one of the specially designated hotels. You must book and pay for it yourself. Passengers arriving from countries outside the “red list” can shorten the period of self-isolation by passing an additional test for COVID-19 on the fifth day of self-isolation, but this does not eliminate the need to pass the test on the eighth day after entering the country.
  • 2 tests for COVID-19, which will need to be passed on the second and eighth days of self-isolation. Moreover, you need to book them in advance.
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Tips for those traveling to the UK in 2021 – 2022

Imagine that the restrictions are finally lifted and your tourists are making plans to travel to Britain again. VisitBritain told which upcoming events travelers should pay attention to.

From 21 to 23 May in the southeast of England, in Essex, there will be a large-scale flower exhibition National Flower Show, a visit to which tourists will hardly forget. The venue also deserves a special mention – this is a villa in Highlands Park. Fans of Lewis Carroll will appreciate the Alice: All Curler and Curler exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum. And at the Tate Modern gallery of contemporary art, you can see an immersive installation by the famous Japanese artist Kusama. You can keep abreast of current events by subscribing to the page on Facebook.

A Russian in Great Britain – what is he like?

As Tatyana Khoreshok (VisitBritain) notes, first of all those tourists who are interested in the country’s rich history and culture go to Britain. As you know, most Russians have always had beach countries in first place. But Great Britain has been and remains a dream country for many Russian travelers, VisitBritain believes: “Our research shows that most of the tourists from Russia, visiting Britain, always visit museums and historical sites.”

It is a well-known fact that Russians love to shop and visit trendy restaurants. Gastronomic travel is gaining popularity. VisitBritain also notes that more and more tourists traveled to Britain in the footsteps of their favorite films – “Harry Potter” and “Game of Thrones”. This leads to the conclusion that fans of the TV series of recent years will definitely like the tour of the filming locations of the acclaimed TV series “Bridgertons” and “Crown”.

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As for the flow of tourists from Russia to the UK, before the pandemic, especially in the last 5 years, it was quite stable, about 200-230 thousand tourists a year. More than 65% of tourists from Russia to Great Britain are “returnable”. “From the comments on our social networks, we see that a lot of people miss their trips to Britain,” adds Tatiana Khoreshok. “We think they will be the first to fly to London as soon as the restrictions are lifted. We are counting on them this and next year ”. VisitBritain also believes that tourists will travel not only to the already familiar London, but also to other regions of Britain to discover something new for themselves. Restoring the tourism industry is a priority for VisitBritain this year and next. “We plan to continue targeted work with key tour operators in the direction,” said Tatiana Khoreshok. – Even before the pandemic, we had a strategy aimed at the luxury segment and small groups – a mix of individual, customized trips and at the same time guaranteed arrivals. These are the segments that will be of particular priority now. “

Together with BSI UK, VisitBritain has created programs for discerning clients – for example, a tour of good old England. Amitours DMC has developed special routes for individual clients and mini-groups. You can learn about these tours firsthand at the webinar on March 30.

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