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Business Economy

Visa application volumes from Kolkata in 2023 recover to 91 pc of pre-pandemic level

Kolkata, Feb 20 (UNI) Visa application volumes from Kolkata in 2023 remained strong and closed in further to the pre-pandemic levels with restoration of travellers’ confidence to explore global destinations.
According to VFS Global, the visa application volume from Kolkata registered a 2 per cent year-on-year growth in 2023. When compared to the pre-pandemic numbers, visa application volumes from Kolkata reached 91 per cent of the 2019 levels.
The demand pattern in Kolkata was in line with the overall growth trend registered in India, which saw a 16% year-on-year in visa applications in 2023. In comparison to the pre-pandemic numbers, visa application volumes from India reached 93% of the 2019 levels.
“We continued to witness robust demand from India and the entire South Asia region in 2022 which led to an extended peak outbound travel season with steady volumes witnessed throughout the year. We remain committed to providing exceptional customer service through technology-led, seamless, highly secure and reliable solutions,” said Vishal Jairath, Head – South Asia, VFS Global.
Jairath added that applicants must of wary of fake websites/social media pages impersonating VFS Global and selling appointments in exchange of money. “Appointments are free and available only on on first come; first serve basis. As a responsible service provider, we will continue to create awareness against the menace and urge applicants to plan their travel early.”
A few of the popular destinations preferred by travellers from India in 2023 were Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, UK, US (in alphabetical order).

Strong demand for personalised services continued to be a defining trend in the 2023 visa application patterns as well. VFS Global recorded a strong uptick in customised services such as the Visa At Your Doorstep (VAYD) service that empowers applicants to complete their entire visa application submission process from the comfort of their homes or any other location of their choice. Through this premium service, customers can submit their applications, enroll for biometrics, and get their passport couriered back to their location of choice. VAYD bookings in 2023 in India registered around five-fold increase when compared to 2019. VFS Global offers VAYD services for 16 countries in India – Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland, and UK.
Similarly, the demand for Premium Lounge, an optional service which provides end-to-end personalised assistance with visa application submission from the comfort of a lounge, is rising with the rise in application volumes. Another service named Prime Time, which allows visa application submission outside of working hours and even on weekends, has seen a healthy adoption since pandemic.
“We continue to see a healthy adoption of contactless and personalised services such as VAYD and Premium Lounge by discerning travellers post the pandemic due to health considerations. These services enhance the overall experience for applicants by offering them greater comfort and convenience when submitting their visa applications. We foresee higher demand for such premium services prioritising safe travel this year as well,” added Jairath.
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