Travel operators are afraid that the new requirement for biometrics will pose a threat to prospective tourists. Beginning from 14 March onwards, these travelers need to get a biometric testing done by coming to one of the 14 new centers around the UK. For this, they would have to first book an appointment online for coming to one of these centers.
According to Darren Bridges, director of Travcour, which is a visa agent, each family member is required to lodge a separate application. There is however, no assurance that the appointments will be carried out one after the other. This company, which is responsible for visa applications in favor of travelers, was informed about the new regulations only the day before. The whole process is an arduous one, depending upon where the applicant lives as currently there are only three such centers. Some other centers are due to open up in cities like Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, Manchester and Belfast.
These changes have come as a surprise in the wake of the recent visa simplification for visitors of other nations by India. India had extended the new simplified visa process to countries such as Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Germany and Japan, by permitting them a VoA to the country. This would most likely have a negative impact on the tourism of India. This is attributed to the fact that Indian visa process is too lengthy, hence very time-consuming and stressful. Owing to these factors, the prospective tourists drop their intended trip of visiting India and go to some other place.
As per the High Commission of India, they have decided to outsource the entire visa process to a company called VFS which would require the applicants to be present in person at India Visa and Consular Service centers. They would have to submit their application, along with the biometric data. The expenses for a visa to India are already high. It is just below 100 pounds. It dissuades people from coming here, except the most eager tourists. These additional changes would only aggravate the present situation.