Friendly and Easier Visa Regime for Indians

Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International Delhi based BLS International works with thirty six client Governments in the provision of outsourced visa and passport, front end and citizen, consular and passport, verification and attestation and E-Visa services while managing administrative and non-judgmental tasks related to these services for diplomatic missions, enabling them to focus on key aspects of assessment of visa applications.

The travel dynamics of Indians have changed drastically in the last few years and as a trend they are changing towards adventurous holidays rather than the traditional family vacation route, which was popular earlier. For international travels, most Indians in the past preferred to go to places such as Europe or a handful of South-East Asian nations but now they are ready to explore other parts of the globe too. Right from the Far East to the vivid west of the globe, Indian traveler's footprints to destinations are growing in numbers drastically. Where earlier London & Paris were the most frequently visited cities in Europe, the trend has diverted to other cities and nations as well, such as Spain that has taken a leap forward as one of the most visited countries in the European continent. Famous for its food, culture, architecture, beaches, amazing places to visit and an array of delightful things to do, Spain has proved to be an exciting destination for travelers worldwide including Indians. Its tourist destinations woo their travelers with attractive and reasonable tourist packages, vivid cultures and fascinating cuisines that make it an ultimate experience for a backpacker as well as family travelers.

Today, travelers prefer to visit places that are budget & technology friendly with rich, accommodating and vibrant culture and flavorful cuisine. Adding to all the above, there must be an ease of travel for the visitors with quicker turnaround and ease in visa formalities, budget airlines and a well-established transportation network at the destination to help the foreign visitors to commute with ease. Another factor that is considered is the ‘People’. Perhaps the most memorable part of any visit is the people of that nation and travelers like to take positive memories back home. Recent reports show that there are around 20 million Indians, who have travelled factually to international destinations every year due to fueling of economy with zillions of smart phones backed by speedy internet facilities has been one of the greatest drivers to accelerate the travel
sales by building excitement for destinations like Spain. With this, the 21st century is also witnessing a heavy populace coupled with better disposable incomes. And this is one of the reasons behind why Indians have emerged as the biggest overseas travelers to Dubai in 2016, catering to 115,531 overnight stays with 19 percent of them opting for five-star accommodation.

The new Indian travelers have evolved and are geared up to experience destinations, even if just once in a lifetime and feed their growing curiosity.

The new Indian travelers have evolved and are geared up to experience destinations, even if just once in a lifetime and feed their growing curiosity. Some even prefer to take the route less travelled and discover interesting places. Interestingly, with the recent Visa-On-Arrival policies, Indians can now visit many places hassle-free. They get to discover the world and experience it at large. The landscape for this new breed of Indian tourists is changing fast and more countries are building new and innovative campaigns to entice Indian travelers. They are reaching out through all available media platforms to feed the voracious travel bug. And to make the journey more memorable, today, Indians have access to 59 countries worldwide where Visa-On-Arrival is a convenient option for them.

While you begin your travel, you need to take care of few things that are crucial for your smooth journey. Various destinations require numerous documents. The Visa Fee and validity differ from $5 to $100 and from 30 days to six months respectively, in various countries. For instance, Thailand charges 1000 Thai Baht for a stay of 15 days, whereas Tanzania charges $ 50 for three months. On one hand, Cape Verde charges 42 Euros and on the other hand, Jordan charges 40 Jordan Dinar for single entry for 2 months6.These countries also look for documents such as Proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay, Passport, Return Ticket, Yellow Fever Certificate to mention a few.

A large number of countries have realized this outburst of travelling interest amongst Indians. Basis this, they have been supplementing their visa facilities with more and more alluring offers. In the wake of this scenario, Thailand is one of the smart countries who understand how to benefit from favorable situations like this. The country has recently cut-off 50 percent of its visa fees to attract the Indian tourists. Going hand in hand even Taiwan, Jordon, Cambodia and Fiji have added attractive offers to their deals and packages especially for Indians. Malaysia recently changed its policies by allowing visa-free entrance to Indians and Indians living abroad. India is the sixth biggest source of tourists for Malaysia and biggest ambassador to promote Malaysia to the world. Other countries like Thailand, Dubai & Singapore also offer Visa on Arrival (VOA) facilities to capture more attention. For Jordan, Indians entering and exiting Jordan from Aqaba, along the Red Sea are granted a 1 month visa for free.

On the other side, India is also a country that attracts a large number of tourists and offers VOA to 145 countries. This has brought India in the list of one of the most frequently visited destinations. With this, it is also UAE’s one of the most important tourist markets due to its deep historical ties at all levels – political, economic and cultural. So, let’s make travelling a journey full of fun where you can enjoy those few special days of your holiday itinerary with comfort and ease. Just be careful to manage a few things before you start your international expedition, such as the documents to be carried, list of popular places to visit and sufficient funds for an enjoyable stay. So plan, implement and get ready to collect memories of places you want to travel to.