Driven by pent-up demand, opening of international borders, and eased COVID-related protocols, Indians have keenly taken up on exploring the world with added vigour once again.
According to VFS Global, the visa application volume from New Delhi reached close to 80 percent of the 2019 pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and registered a 93 percent growth when compared to 2021.
This trend of rise in rising visa application volumes is in line with the overall growth registered in India, which was also close to 80 percent of the pre-pandemic levels last year, the visa company stated.
“We witnessed unprecedented demand from India in 2022 which led to an extended peak outbound travel season with steady volumes witnessed until December. We are confident that the momentum will further grow and hence it is advisable for applicants to apply for their visas in advance to avoid last-minute surprises,” said Prabuddha Sen, Chief Operating Officer - South Asia, VFS Global.
ALSO READ: Agoda CEO feels India's outbound travel market to outpace western peers: Report
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
VFS Global report also mentioned that another defining trend noticed in travellers’ behaviour was wider adoption of personalised service, which began since the pandemic.
Premium optional services such as Visa At Your Doorstep (VAYD) that enable travellers to book the entire visa experience at a location of their choice, witnessed around 90 percent year-on-year rise. Notably, VFS Global provides such services to 16 countries --Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland, UK.
“Health considerations continue to be a key determining factor in the new normal. As a result, we see an increasing number of travellers opt of such services that provide a seamless visa experience and prioratise safe travel,” added Sen.
Meanwhile, to add to the leisure trip, data from several reports suggest that Indians are spending vast amounts of money on foreign travel, breaking all kinds of records in the process. In January, for instance, they spent nearly $1.49 billion on foreign travel, which represents a sequential increase of over 31 percent from the $1.13 billion spent in December 2022. It also marks an increase of over 50 percent from January 2022, when they spent $989 million on foreign travel.
Further, a survey commissioned by American Express recently revealed that 77 percent of Indian businesses are expecting to increase their travel budget in 2023 as compared to last year, with business travel across domestic and international markets showing a rebound post-pandemic.
The survey, which was conducted among 500+ Indian businesses, shows how important technology has become for the travel sector, with 79 percent of businesses surveyed using business travel data analytics to assist with travel booking and expenditure.
Visa Application: What to keep in mind
It is recommended to apply for visas as early as booking flights and stay. Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days (3 months) before your date of travel. According to the revised Schengen Visa Code, effective 09th February 2020, you can apply for a Schengen visa up to 6 months before your date of travel. Particularly this year with higher demand and limited appointment slots available, we urge applicants to apply for their visa as early as possible.