UK visa delays 'deterring travellers'

02 Jun 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Delays in accessing UK visas are putting people off from travelling to the country, it has been suggested.

The problem is evident in India, where travel agents have noted that tourism from India to the UK dropping over the past few months by 20 to 30 per cent.

Amarjit Lidder, chairperson of the Travel Agents Association of India, told the Times of India that the number of UK visa applications has fallen by around 20 per cent.

He explained that this is due to the extensive delay that now occurs during UK visa applications, with waits of anything up to two months experienced by applications.

Meanwhile, Shireen Mistry, head of communications and public affairs at the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai, told the news source that there has been an "unprecedented" number of travellers seeking to visit the UK this year.

As such, there has been an intense rush for UK visas and the processing times have risen substantially.

Other travel agents in India expressed concern that smaller firms are struggling due to the fact that they have had to make the decision to halt their trips to the UK as a result of the excessive visa waiting times.

Travellers are being encouraged to apply for their UK visas well in advance of their preferred travel date, although others are being routed through Europe as an alternative.