The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has urged the government to prove to the world that Britain is open for business.
Commenting on the impact of immigration queues on Britain’s trade and tourism potential, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, (BCC) said the queues witnessed at British immigration checkpoints recently “are a national embarrassment, particularly ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee and this summer’s Olympic Games.”
He went on to say that: “Britain has long been a top destination for global travellers, both for business and leisure. We need to be ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to welcome travellers if we want to claim that our doors are open to global tourism, investment and trade.”
Mr. Longworth said businesspeople often tell them that “one poor travel experience, a missed meeting or wasted time and money is enough to put them off doing business in a foreign market.”
“We can imagine how images of long queues at Heathrow have affected the UK’s reputation as a place to do business,” he added.
Mr. Longworth urged the ministers to “ensure that UK entry points are adequately staffed and working efficiently, particularly at Heathrow.”
The recent long have already caused some damage to the country’s image, Mr. Longworth said. “Border delays put our reputation and future prosperity at risk. The problem of poor border management must be addressed now to avoid lasting damage to the UK’s reputation,” he said.