Schengen visa delays lead Indian holidaymakers to explore alternative destinations like


Schengen visa delays: Indian holidaymakers are increasingly opting for alternative destinations like Georgia, Australia, and Japan due to the persistent Schengen visa appointment delays over the past three years, according to industry executives. These countries have simplified their visa processes for Indian travellers, making them more attractive options for summer vacations.
Georgia’s e-visa facility has been particularly popular, with Thomas Cook (India) reporting a remarkable 600% year-on-year increase in demand for the country.As a result, the travel company has doubled departures in several of its group series to accommodate the growing interest, according to an ET report.
Rajeev Kale, president of holidays at Thomas Cook (India), noted that “In combination with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are also witnessing a significant uptick (around 400%), and we’ve coupled them with Georgia while also offering standalone options.” He added, “Locales like Tashkent, Samarkand (Uzbekistan) and Almaty (Kazakhstan) have also witnessed a strong growth of approximately 300% year-on-year.”

Summer Getaways for Indians

Summer Getaways for Indians

Indian nationals can obtain e-visas for Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan, while Kazakhstan allows visa-free stays for up to 14 days. The ongoing delays in visa appointments for some Schengen countries, which have been reported by ET since April 24, have contributed to the shift in Indian travellers’ preferences towards these alternative destinations.
MakeMyTrip has observed a significant 57% increase in searches for Japan during the summer season compared to the previous year, according to Saujanya Shrivastava, the company’s chief operating officer for flights, holidays and Gulf. “Among the top cities within Japan, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya are of higher interest, with Tokyo alone accounting for two-thirds of all hotel searches and 80% of all flight searches,” he said.
Agoda CEO Omri Morgenshtern, during his recent visit to India, discussed the impact of relaxed visa policies on travel. “When the visa process is easy and when the flight capacity is there, we see travel increasing. It’s a business of removing friction,” he said, citing the example of Bangkok, which became the most sought-after destination for Indians on Agoda after Thailand introduced a visa waiver.

Recently, Thailand announced an extension of the temporary visa exemption for Indian nationals until November 11, to further boost tourism.
Yatra Online is experiencing a substantial number of last-minute bookings for international destinations, including Thailand, Vietnam, Mauritius, Singapore, Bali, and Sri Lanka, according to Bharatt Malik, senior vice president for flights and hotel business at the travel firm. Additionally, he mentioned, “We have seen a 100% increase in bookings to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan compared to pre-Covid levels.”
Cleartrip’s top international destinations for Indian travelers are Bangkok, Dubai, and Singapore, says Gaurav Patwari, vice president for the air category at the company.
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Daniel D’souza, president of leisure travel at SOTC Travel, emphasized that the visa process, including the availability of application slots and processing time, has become a crucial factor in Indian travelers’ decision-making, especially with the shorter booking windows of 50-60 days for long-haul and 30-40 days for short-haul destinations this year.
“Australia’s streamlined electronic visa offers a smooth end-to-end process,” D’souza said, noting that the company experienced a 40-45% year-on-year increase in Indians traveling to Australia as a result.





This article was originally published by a timesofindia.indiatimes.com . Read the Original article here. .