The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), earlier this week, sent a letter to all European Consulates and Embassies, requesting them to streamline the Visa processes and guidelines. India is an important market for the European countries and there is a huge potential for growth for the outbound market – that coupled with the pent-up demand makes Indian outbound travellers an important segment for countries abroad. OTOAI strongly feels that a little cooperation on part of the Embassies and Consulates will help ease the Visa process and motivate people to travel abroad.
In a detailed letter sent to all European Consulates and Embassies, OTOAI has elaborately explained the various problems and issues being faced by the Indian Outbound traveller. These are –
The wait to get a visa appointment is currently as long as 4 weeks, which is extremely disheartening to the traveller
The Visa processing time, after submission of documents, is extremely long and takes up to almost 4 – 5 weeks to come through.
Many people who are booking their holidays through the travel agents, book their air tickets and hotel bookings, which they then have to cancel if the Visa does not come well in time.
The embassy often releases a couple of passports in a family and holds one or two passports back, yet again causing uncertainty, anxiety and losses to the agents.
At the time of submission of Visa documents, no clear indication is given as to when one should expect the Visa to come through.
Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI said, “We at OTOAI are committed to uplift Outbound Travel from India and are willing to assist the Embassies in any way possible. We understand that the Embassies currently are overwhelmed with the Visa applications and we would be happy to help them out, in whichever way we can, to ease their burden. We strongly believe that it is only through our joined and concerted efforts that we will be able to go back to the outbound figures of pre pandemic levels. The Outbound Agents are losing revenue and clients because of Visa delays and we would humbly request the Consulate to look into the problem on priority basis and take immediate action.”