TAAI discusses challenges faced by Travel Trade regarding Issuance of Visas with VFS

TAAI discusses challenges faced by Travel Trade regarding Issuance of Visas with VFS


President Jyoti Mayal urged VFS to form transparent policies & create better opportunities for TAAI members by adopting smooth working & better implementation.

TAAI joined hands with VFS to organise an interactive session for members of the Northern Region; including Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand chapters on 15th December 2021. The meeting was initiated by Punjab Chairman Rtn. Gurjeet Singh Sekhon under the leadership of the President Jyoti Mayal & witnessed active participation of Devesh Kumar Agarwal, Chairman – Visa & Allied Services Council, Neeraj Malhotra, Chairman – Northern Region; Syed Mohammad Akhlaq, Chairman, UPUK; Harraj Singh Sidhu, Chairman, Chandigarh.

The objective was to listen, understand, and seek VFS support to address the challenges faced by the travel trade fraternity. With the world opening in a phase-wise manner and wooing travellers, it is imperative to discuss how TAAI members and VFS may facilitate the smooth issuance of visas with the support of foreign missions.

TAAI team delivered introductory remarks and welcomed the five team members of VFS senior management. While emphasising the need of seeking clarity from the VFS on the visa-issuance process and limited dates of appointment. All the Chairmen present shared the concerns of their members and impediments being faced due to the lack of clarity, ambiguity & seamless practices by the missions.

Pointing to the fast spread of Omicron, TAAI team stated that the industry was on the trajectory of revival; however, now it seems slightly fragile.

Unscrupulous agents are sabotaging the image of the Indian travel trade industry by charging exorbitantly high service fees and adopting uneven means of facilitating appointments which is a matter of great concern, TAAI team clarified and urged the VFS to take immediate action in this regard.

TAAI members from Punjab region specifically advocated the need of having a level playing for the entire travel trade fraternity. They referred to cases and brought to the notice of the VFS team the instances whereby few select individuals or agents have been able to seek appointments for their clients; however, on the other hand, many were not able to despite approaching the VFS centre well in advance.

During the question answers session, members categorically stated to the VFS team regarding the importance of having a helpline with an efficient and knowledgeable team, who could address their concerns over the phone. Or, perhaps, a more transparent URL, with rich content, which could address bottlenecks for the traveller and the agent in a much speedy manner.

TAAI National, Regional, and State Level teams in one voice echoed their request to hold a joint meeting, at the earliest, to address travel trade concerns raised during the interaction and otherwise also, which was seconded by more than hundred members who were present during the webinar.

VFS team represented by senior management was very receptive & assured to look into all the processes, hold joint meetings with TAAI & missions to bring about better facilitation processes wherever possible.

They further requested members to share their concerns in writing, allowing them to document and refer to while elucidating the clarification. In addition, the team stated that they were bringing in certain changes in the system within the next three weeks, the implementation of which would address some of the concerns raised. The VFS team assured TAAI for always bettering their services & continue to work in close collaboration.

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