Indian tour operators press UKVI to ease 10-year UK visa rules

UK Visa

The OTOAI (Outbound Tour Operators Association of India) is exerting pressure on the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) authority to ease the rules for a 10-year visa for passport holders of India. As of now, the 10-year UK visa costs more than INR 70,000 and only 300 visas of this category are being granted from India per year. The extra charges one incurs when applying for this visa are putting off travellers. OTOAI is, therefore, pressing UKVI to either ease the 10-year visa rules or introduce the two-year visa pattern (on six-month visa fee) that has been put in place in China.

OTOAI President, Guldeep Singh Sahni, was quoted by travelbizmontor.com as saying that the time and resources spent in procuring the 10-year UK visa was causing severe inconvenience. The association had been pursuing this matter with UKVI to provide relief for the process which would also prove beneficial to the destination, said Sahni. The OTOAI members have reportedly approached UKVI and are said to have travelled to London.

OTOAI Vice President, Riaz Munshi, recently speaking at the OTOAI Members Meet at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, praised its members for supporting and confirming a familiarisation (FAM) trip to Turkey during 15-24 September 2016 in collaboration with TITC (Turkish Indian Tourism Council). He said that a lot of effort was put into planning this FAM trip. He thanked his members who had come out in support of Turkey as a travel destination and TITC.

Meanwhile, the pre-FAM tour would take place between 15 and 18 September and the post-FAM tour would be held during 21-24 September. Starting from 18-21 September, business-to-business meetings would be held with Turkish suppliers. Sahni said that the registrations were going on at present.

At the meet, OTOAI enabled a session on GST for its members in partnership with Ernst & Young. E&Y Tax and Regulatory Services, Senior Manager Aseem Arora made a presentation on the effect GST would have on outbound tour operators. Sahni stated that the association would be meeting the officials from Ministry of Finance soon to voice concerns with regard to the GST Bill.

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