BENGALURU: There is good news for those whose bucket list of must-see places includes the Eiffel Tower or the Sacre-Coeur.
For the first time, a tourism kiosk has been opened in Bengaluru by the French embassy in association with VFS Global reports The Hindu.
Not only can people use the kiosk to find out about the various destinations in France, they can also book tickets for city tours, concerts, and passes for the likes of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. They can do this simultaneously with the visa application process.
The move has come at a time when the number of people visiting France from India — on business, for studies, and for tourism — has seen an exponential growth since 2015, when the 48-hour visa processing time was introduced by the French government for Indian applicants.
“This is a global first. The kiosk will not only provide information about destinations in France, but will also enable travellers to completely plan their trip,” said Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India. By June-end, two more kiosks are likely to be opened in the country, in New Delhi and Mumbai.
Mr. Ziegler added that in 2015, as many as 5 million Indians visited ,France an increase of 45% from 2014. In 2016, the number grew by 20%, and in the first quarter of 2017, 1.5 lakh visa applications have were received from across the country. Of these, 75% were tourist visa applications. “Bengaluru is one of the fastest growing cities in terms of visa applications to France. Over 30,000 visa applications were processed from the city last year.”
Spread over 24,000 sq.ft, the newly opened VFS centre at Langford Town will process visas of 31 diplomatic missions. Six counters are dedicated exclusively for France visa applicants. It also has a big waiting and registration area, a premium lounge for personalised assistance, and a back office for processing applications.