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

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

TAAI joined hands with VFS to organize an interactive session for members of the Northern Region; The meeting was initiated by Punjab Chairman Rtn. Gurjeet Singh Sekhon under the leadership of President Jyoti Mayal and witnessed the active participation of Devesh Kumar Agarwal, Chairman – Visa and 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 emphasizing the need to seek 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, and 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 changing 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 the Punjab region specifically advocated the need of having a level playing for the entire 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 the clients, however, on the other hand, many were not able despite approaching the VFS Centre well in advance.

During the question-answer session, members categorically stated to the VFS team regarding the importance of having a helpline with an efficient and knowledgeable team, who 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 a hundred members who were present during the webinar.

VFS team represented by senior management was very receptive and assured to look into all the processes hold joint meetings with TAAI and missions to bring about better facilitation processes whenever 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 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 and continuing to work in close collaboration.