The Indian High Commission in the UK is opening a new visa processing facility in central London and initiating measures to facilitate group tours from November 1.
“The number of appointments we have been able to do has increased greatly to about 40,000 per month thanks to our partners at VFS,” he said in the video message,” High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami said in a video message on Friday.
He said that a visa processing facility is being set up in central London to increase access, and a new process is being introduced for those travelling together to the same destination on the same flight. Tourists will also have the option of a visa at doorstep service for a fee.
These steps come following complaints of visa delays that have resulted in trip cancellations. According to local media reports, British citizens have been finding it difficult to secure visa appointments with fully booked slots at some of the centres until mid-November. There have also been complaints regarding changes in rules that require applicants to remain present in person at a visa application centre and not use the services of an agent. The High Commission, however, denied changing any rules.
The UK is one of the key source markets for Indian tourism, but its citizens are not eligible for e-visas. Over 160,000 British citizens visited India in 2021, accounting for 10.75 per cent of all tourist arrivals. UK was India’s third largest source market after the US and Bangladesh.
In October, the Indian Association of Tour Operators wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the restoration of e-visa facilities for British and Canadian citizens.
“Due to non-availability of e-tourist visa for UK, Canada and other source markets we are losing huge business as tourists from these countries are opting for alternative destinations,” IATO had said.