There’s no stopping travel-hungry Indians

Synopsis

BLS International, which processes visas for Spain, saw India applicants surpassing pre-Covid numbers in June and July, said Shikhar Aggarwal, joint managing director of the company. June and July saw a 59% and a 72% rise, respectively, in new visa applications for Spain from India compared with pre-Covid 2019.

Agencies
On the MakeMyTrip and Goibibo platforms, the recovery for key short-haul destinations such as the UAE and Maldives against pre-Covid times is 15% higher than that of top long-haul destinations such as the US, the UK and Canada.

Visa delays persist for those seeking to travel to the UK, US and Canada, but that’s not deterring Indian overseas travellers. Travel industry insiders said countries such as Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, South Africa and Turkey are attracting more applicants due to better turnaround times, and will be cornering Indian spends, apart from other short-haul favourites that have more relaxed entry and visa requirements.

BLS International, which processes visas for Spain, saw India applicants surpassing pre-Covid numbers in June and July, said Shikhar Aggarwal, joint managing director of the company. June and July saw a 59% and a 72% rise, respectively, in new visa applications for Spain from India compared with pre-Covid 2019.

Spain, Switzerland and Hungary are among European countries that have quicker turnaround times as visa challenges continue for Canada, the UK and US, said Rajeev Kale, president and country head for holidays, MICE and visas at Thomas Cook (India). Spain is taking 7-10 working days in Delhi and 4-5 in Mumbai; Hungary and France are taking 4-5 days in Mumbai; Switzerland is taking 7-10 working days and the processing for all applicants is being done through a central unit in Delhi, according to Kale.

“Turkey is witnessing a 25-35% surge in demand compared to pre-pandemic levels as they are consistently processing visas within 8-10 days under the normal process for Delhi and Mumbai and are taking an extra two days in other locations,” he said. “South Africa has seen a 20-25% jump in demand with a visa processing duration of 10 days. African countries such as Kenya and Egypt are also trending with a 20% jump in demand with visa on arrival making it easy for Indian customers to choose these destinations.”

Demand for destinations in Australia is expected to rise sharply in October and November, coinciding with the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, with Indian arrivals in Melbourne likely increasing by up to 50% in November, according to a new RateGain Travel Technologies report.

Visa issues aside, the average fare for long-haul destinations such as the US, the UK and Canada rose by a minimum 70% last month over January 2020, while short-haul destinations such as the UAE, Thailand, Singapore and Maldives have seen a more subdued increase over the same time period at 16-40%, said Saujanya Shrivastava, chief operating officer for flights and Gulf Cooperation Council, at MakeMyTrip. “We need to bear in mind that airfare is one of the many factors that influence the decision of the traveller,” he added.

On the MakeMyTrip and Goibibo platforms, the recovery for key short-haul destinations such as the UAE and Maldives against pre-Covid times is 15% higher than that of top long-haul destinations such as the US, the UK and Canada.

Friday, 09 Sep, 2022

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