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tourists pick short-haul destinations As visa issues hit US, Europe Plan

As procuring visas for European countries, which have traditionally been popular among Indian travellers, is taking relatively longer, tourists are flocking to short-haul destinations, including Southeast Asian nations. The visa challenge is two-pronged — obtaining appointment slots and extended processing time.

For instance, getting an appointment slot for Germany is taking 10 to 11 weeks, while the processing time for a visa is as high as 15 working days. For France, the situation is similar. For the UK, though, travellers can secure an appointment slot within four weeks and the visa processing time span is between 8-10 weeks. Given European visa challenges, customers are opting for easy visa destinations (no visa/e-visa/on arrival). Not surprising then that we are witnessing a considerable demand shift to Southeast Asia,” Rajeev Kale – president and country head, holidays, MICE, visa – Thomas Cook (India), said.The company has seen an uptick of 25-30% in demand for countries like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the past few months. Kale said Australia is also seeing robust demand of 15-20% from both leisure and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segments.

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