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Thousands of UK vacationers cancel trips to India as tourist visa rules change – Times of India

LONDON: Thousands of UK holidaymakers have been forced to cancel their Indian holidays due to last-minute changes to visa rules requiring them to appear in person at UK visa centers to apply for tourist visas. They have no reservations available until their flight departs.
Until now, thousands of UK holidaymakers have turned to visa agents to obtain Indian tourist visas for a fee. However, on Monday night, the agency received notice that visa agencies were no longer allowed to obtain tourist visas on behalf of applicants and instead applicants had to appear in person. rice field. VFS Global Application Center.
Yasin Zargar Managing Director Indus experience, LondonOrganize special interest tours and bespoke holidays in India . There is no option to get a visa unless you book online. Some customers come without appointments and are turned down. It’s been very stressful for us and our activities have come to a halt. ”
“We have an imminent departure to India on 27th and 29th October and we are facing a loss of £42,000 as our clients returned their passports without a visa. We issued tickets and paid overseas suppliers, who paid for our internal tickets, but if our clients don’t have a visa, they can’t travel,” he said. I was.
“They paid hundreds of pounds for their services to visa agencies and they don’t refund them. Some clients say why should they go to India if this is stressful?” “The UK is India’s largest tourism market and this is hurting jobs in India. Our operations have come to a halt,” Zargar added.
Darren Bridges I run a visa agency called Travcour VLS (UK) Ltd in London. He returns 900 visa-free passports to UK clients every week. He said the service charge could not be refunded as it would result in a “huge deficit”.
“At 7pm on Monday, we were informed that applicants should be taken to the visa center. We used to send to the Indian High Commission and usually issue visas without the applicant’s presence.Our clients are mostly elderly and often spread across the country and we send them all to London based Well, they can’t take appointments online, the earliest appointment is November 22nd and from that date it can take up to 10 days to process the visa. So anyone making travel arrangements before this date will not get it,” Bridges said.
“There is a very narrow window as visa applications cannot be made more than three months in advance of the date of travel…Most people have been resuming travel since two years ago when travel was canceled due to Covid. We were booking, they helped us book trips, but now the whole system was pulled out from under us, we talked to local people in India and they I’m desperate for it,” he said.
This latest blow to UK holidaymakers comes on top of the failure of UK citizens’ e-visas to be reinstated after the pandemic, despite being available to citizens of 135 other countries, including the US.
Pawan Mahawar, owner of Hotel Prem Villas in Pushkar, Rajasthan, told TOI: They have the second largest number of nationalities for him after Israelis. Hotels are empty and tourists are down 90% of him since the pandemic. We want to bring back British tourists. Israelis are still coming, but Indians are fewer because of the lumpy skin disease,” he said.

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