Outbound Travel

Biometrics no deterrent for Europe-bound tourist

Europe is still a preferred summer holiday destination

MUMBAI:  Back in November 2015, when biometrics were made compulsory for the Schengen visa to Europe, there was widespread fear that the cumbersome and costlier visa process would drive away Indian travellers to other international destinations.

Six months on, Europe has not only retained its status as a preferred summer holiday destination, but some of the countries have in fact registered a sharp rise in the number of visa applications, reports DNA.

“We are proud and humbled to witness a 20% year-on-year increase in the visa applications,” said Yves Perrin, consul general of France in Mumbai, adding that his team is ensuring that the visa applications are processed in record time.

“The crucial tourism–related policies that France recently put in practice — we are the fastest visa-processing Schengen country — coupled with the ‘good things’ in France are paying off,” said Perrin, adding that the rising numbers can also be attributed to Indian travel agencies, who are doing a good job of coming up with unique customised itineraries that are tempting the travellers.

European neighbour Switzerland is also witnessing good numbers despite the introduction of biometrics, that make personal appearance compulsory for each applicant to give the fingerprints for the Schengen records.

“Switzerland continues to be one of most sought after tourist destination in Europe for Indians. With a variety of landscapes and places of interest, Switzerland appeals to the Indian holidaymaker. This is backed by a sustained increase in the number of visa applicants over the years,” said an official of the Embassy of Switzerland in India, adding that there has been no impact on the number of applications even after shifting of backroom facility from Mumbai to New Delhi.

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