Spain is expecting a 10 per cent year on year increase in “travelers” from the subcontinent, said a senior official.

Spain’s ambassador to India, Jose Maria Ridao Dominguez told businessline that over 90000 visas were issued in 2023, and he expects it to cross the 1 lakh mark next year. “This year we had over 90000 visa applications. Next year, I believe that we will cross the 1 lakh mark, thereby an increase of 10 per cent.” 

Players like Thomas Cook have seen an uptick for travel to Schengen countries including France, Switzerland and Spain among other countries. The company managed 420 groups including sizable movements of between 100 to over 2000 delegates, across Thailand, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Georgia, Switzerland, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Africa, Azerbaijan, France, Portugal, Spain, Japan in Q2 FY24.

Not only that, its cruises segment has seen strong uptick both for ‘companies’ cruise segment as well with ‘mid-large’ (group) movements. “The company handled over 500 movements to destinations like Italy and Spain,” it said.

According to Indian travel experts, it takes anywhere between 30 to 90 days to issue a visa to Schengen countries. However, experts have said that it takes much longer than that dampening travel plans.

Attempts are being made to speed up the visa issuance processes. As per the ambassador, the Embassy will take 48 hours to issue visas from the time it reaches the former’s office from its partner, BLS International. BLS is an online visa application center in India provides visa consultancy services for individual, student, family and many more.

“We are improving our processes, and we are opening our office in Bangalore. We hope to attract more and more travelers. Our goal is to give more visas and  better services,” he explained. Currently, Spain authorities have its consulates in Delhi and Mumbai.

Currently, the Schengen area consists of 26 European countries (of which 22 are EU states): Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland among others. 

“The EU is very keen on simplifying the process of issuing visas. We want people to come to our country, and we want our citizens to come to India as well,” he said.