Behind the Smile, the story of Lek, a bargirl in Pattaya

The Story of Lek, a Bar Girl in Pattaya
'Daddy's Hobby'

Why Do Successive British Governments Ruin Tourism in Britain?

Why Do Successive British Governments Ruin Tourism in Britain?

It is a very stressful event for a foreigner to apply for a visa and the heartache of visa refusal is very real. I don't mean the entry stamp at border control, that is usually a foregone conclusion, although many travellers find that bad enough. I mean applying for a visa at an embassy before departing for that country and especially if that country is on the other side of the world, where you possibly have a job or a spouse waiting.

Why Do Successive British Governments Ruin Tourism in Britain?

Everyone who has travelled knows that most foreigners look up to, admire, loathe or just want to visit the UK. This can be for many reasons, many of which have to do with history or the cultural image of the English gentleman.

People all over the world are saving up and literally queuing up to go to Britain for a holiday. Asians are at the head of these queues and the number of middle-class Asians with money is growing by the minute. So why, oh, why do successive British governments make it so difficult for them to have that holiday?

I live in Thailand and my Thai wife has been through the very stringent vetting procedure of getting a UK visa five times, yet we have been married six years and she obtained her first visa eight years ago.

So just what the hell is going on then? Why are we making it so difficult for people as innocuous as my wife to visit the UK and spend their money there? We are making influential people concerned about going to the UK, because they don't want to waste weeks trying to get a visa or run the very high risk of getting an embarrassing refusal.

France, Germany, Austria, Spain and many other European countries, equally steeped in history are a lot easier to get into, so why should they bother with the UK? Furthermore, one visa allows a traveller to visit all these countries but not the UK. So who misses out?

Britain and the British miss out on all this foreign currency which ends up going to most Asians' second choice - mainland Europe.

Instead of spending so much money making it very hard for foreigners to get into the UK, why not spend that money making sure that they go home after they have spent their money? That way we would know who the genuine tourists are and we could make a repeat visa easier for them.

We could penalise and deport the ones who try to overstay like other countries do rather than penalise everyone for daring to want to visit us like we do. My wife has been refused a visa twice in eight years for very silly, insulting reasons, to wit:

1] you have never been abroad before
2] you may not return home to Thailand
3] you have "not satisfied {us} that you are able to meet the costs of your journey or that you will be adequately maintained and accommodated in the UK"

Number 1], if applied to everyone in the world would mean there could never be international travel
Number 2], is none of the UK's business as long as she leaves the UK before her visa expires
Number 3], I provided a guarantee of finance and my mother promised accommodation, so the government is telling my wife that my mother and I are liars, but even that is irrelevant, if they were "not satisfied that you are able to meet the costs of your journey".

Foreigners are not stupid just because their command of English is not as good as that of a native speaker; they can plainly see how silly our excuses are for refusing visas and they cannot understand us and to be perfectly honest, I agree with them, because I don't understand it either. Do you?

We all want to keep out terrorists, thieves, illegal immigrants and ne'er-do-wells, but how can that be applied to the 44 year old wife of a British national who has already made two visits and complied with the rules both times? And how many others have undergone this silly, humiliating visa procedure?

Silly and humiliating for Britain and the British, I mean!

by Owen Jones



Join Our Newsletter

BTS 1: Daddy's Hobby

BTS2: An Exciting Future

BTS3: Maya - Illusion
BTS4: The Lady in the Tree

BTS5: Stepping Stones

BTS6 - The Dream