The meeting was to talk about the delays in the issuance of visas to the United States, Schengen and other countries
The travel trade has been facing visa issues and Jyoti Mayal, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) met Sanjay Verma, Secretary – West, Ministry of External Affairs,
Government of India, to discuss ways to address the issues. Mayal sought the help of the Union Minister of External Affairs to have a government-to-government dialogue to settle visa issues.
The meeting was to talk about the delays in the issuance of visas to the United States, Schengen and other countries.
Mayal said that TAAI was seeking the MEA’s assistance by way of addressing the issues and challenges faced by the travel trade fraternity of the country to make it more robust. “The pandemic era has been a struggle for tourism survival and there is a huge opportunity to quickly revive as people are wanting to restart travel with huge enthusiasm,” reported ETTravelWorld.
During the discussions, Mayal spoke about the issuance of visas to the United States and many Schengen countries, especially Greece, which was a major hurdle that the travel trade fraternity was facing. Members and clients had been reaching out to TAAI that they were unable to secure appointments for visas for travellers. There was also a long delay in the stamping of visas without any proper communication.
“In addition, some missions keep the passports for an indefinite period resulting in uncertainty and cancellations, which incur a huge cost to the traveller given that confirmed air tickets and hotel vouchers are a requirement for visa applications, which must be done away with,” Mayal asked the MEA Secretary.
Mayal also said that the Air Suvidha form was an encumbrance and that it be scrapped immediately. Mandatory health and comprehensive travel Insurance on Inbound e-Visa / Visa for the safety and security of travellers also had to be introduced, she told the Secretary
She also said that the extension of the free visas to India and the duration to be of minimum six months with multiple entries had to be resumed immediately. In line with that, e-Visa had to be reinstated for all countries, including UK and Canada as pre-Covid, to boost inbound tourism.
Mayal also said that the Air Suvidha form was an encumbrance and that it be scrapped immediately. Mandatory health and comprehensive travel Insurance on Inbound e-Visa / Visa for the safety and security of travellers also had to be introduced, she told the Secretary.
“Taking this thought further, TAAI looks forward to being in continuous communication with the MEA to take more various discussed points into becoming a motivator & enhancer of tourism & bring in ease of travel to drive economic growth,” Mayal said while highlighting the fact that tourism came under a wide spectrum of ministries and so, there was need to work collectively to achieve progressive and effective results.
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