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visa: Visa applications received in India more than doubled in November: VFS Global – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The reimposition of stringent testing and quarantine norms globally post Omicron is likely to spoil the strong resurgence in foreign travel to and from India seen till last month.
Visa major VFS Global says visa applications received in India until November 21, 2021, were more than double than of pre-second wave January 2021 due to the reopening of international borders and easing of travel restrictions. It had seen a three-fold rise in visa applications since June 2021 with destinations like Canada, Europe, UK, and USA being the big favourites with desi travellers.
The news of Omicron had emerged in the last week of November. “The pandemic remains volatile in the light of new variants, but too early to see an impact on travel behaviour,” the visa major says.
“The steady rise in visa applications demonstrates strong intent to travel. Since the restart period happened to overlap with the peak students’ season in India, students comprised a large section of international travellers from India, followed by business travellers and tourists visiting families,” said Pranav Sinha, VFS Global (south Asia) head.
Omicron has brought back stringent requirements for testing and quarantine across them world. Travel industry, both airlines and hotels, says UK is seeing a lot of cancellations due to the Omicron situation there.
Air Canada on Tuesday tweeted: “The Government of Canada has introduced mandatory arrival Covid-19 testing for all travellers entering Canada from any country (other than the United States).” Canada is among the places seeing a lot of demand for travel from India. Due to this “increased demand”, VFS has from December 17, 2021, asked applicants to schedule biometric appointments by filling in a web form.
“The biggest scare is what happens if one tests positive in any phase of travel and then is required to be quarantined/hospitalised. These uncertainties are leading to only essential international travel taking place this time. We are surviving only on domestic travel,” said a leading Delhi-based travel agent.

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