SPAIN has become the latest country to provide a simplified visa application process for Chinese nationals.
The system – the first of its kind for Spain – will become fully operational “very soon”, said a spokesperson for Turespaña, the national tourism promotion board.
While declining to speculate on how much quicker the new system would be, the spokesperson said it would enable Spanish consulates to “increase the number of visas (handled) without (having to boost) staff (numbers)”.
Visa processing centres have been installed at three Spanish consulates in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to test the new system. These centres will handle applications from all over China, and there are currently no plans to extend the system to other provinces.
VFS Global, which also works with the Canadian, French, Indian and British consulates in China, has been appointed to manage the visa processing facility.
Last year, the number of Chinese tourists to Spain rose 25 per cent, from 128,454 in 2010. No predictions have been given for growth this year, but the market is described as remaining “buoyant”.