Economy

New UK visa proposal may hit students, business, leisure travel

Our Bureaus New Delhi | Updated on March 09, 2018

The UK government’s proposal of asking travellers from some “high risk” countries including India to submit a cash bond of £3,000 for getting a visa could not only effect the flow of Indian students going for higher education to Britain but also business and leisure travellers.

The implementation of the proposal, which is to be on trial basis for one year beginning November, will push the cost of travel to the UK as some travellers will have to keep aside close to Rs 2,70,000 apart from meeting the cost of the visa, travel insurance and air tickets.

Last year close to 3,00,000 Indians travelled to the UK.

However, speaking to newspersons in Delhi on Tuesday, Human Resources Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju said that there was no doubt that the UK Government’s proposal will have an impact on students’ plans to go abroad. He added that diplomatic talks will be held to address the issue.

Conceding that the full implications of the proposal are not yet clear, a senior executive with a travel agency specialising in corporate travel said that the UK Government’s move will directly impact corporate travel costs which is not good news in the current economic scenario where companies are cautious about their travel spends. Travel agents like Iqbal Mulla, President Travel Agents Association of India, also believe that any change in the visa norms will mean squeezing out more money and could impact the volume of travel for both business and leisure.

Vikram Malhi, General Manager, South Asia & South-East Asia, AirAsia Expedia, felt that if the proposal comes into effect there will be an impact on travel to the UK as India is a huge source market for Britain.

“It will pinch the pockets of travellers visiting their family members in UK. Many may cut down their annual trips and travel once in two years instead,” said Thomas C Thottathil of Cox & Kings, a tour operator.

Added Richa Goyal Sikri, Director Group Business Development, STIC Travel Group, “Our clients are very unhappy with this proposal. Business travellers and entrepreneurs tend to take longer term visas as they want to ensure they can attend their meetings and a lot of them combine leisure and business.”

Pointing out that any law/regulation that makes the visa application process for tourists complex will dissuade genuine tourists from travelling to that destination, Vishal Suri, CEO Tour Operating Kuoni India, hoped that a majority of Indian tourists will not be affected by the decision.

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Published on June 25, 2013

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