Inbound tourism to take a hit amid diplomatic standoff, ET TravelWorld


<p>Picture used for representation.<br /></p>
Picture used for representation.

In the midst of an escalating diplomatic standoff between India and Canada, the recent suspension of visa services by the Indian government for Canadian citizens is poised to have significant ramifications on inbound tourism to India, particularly as the tourist season approaches.

As the festive tourist season approaches in India, the impact of this visa suspension on inbound tourism remains a focal point, and all stakeholders are keenly observing how the situation evolves in the coming days. The travel and tourism industry, which has been steadily recovering from the effects of the global pandemic, is now faced with another challenge, as the suspension of visa services adds uncertainty to the upcoming tourist season.

Since Canada is a major source market of foreign tourists for India, the Indian tourism industry feels a lot of existing bookings are going to get cancelled or rescheduled. Canada has consistently been one of the leading sources of tourists to India. In 2021, approximately 80,000 Canadian tourists travelled to India, as per data from India’s Bureau of Immigration.

The suspension of visa services encompasses all Canadian nationals planning to visit India who do not possess valid visas, including tourists, students, business travellers, and others. Furthermore, this suspension extends to Canadians located in third countries who intend to apply for an Indian visa, adding to the complexity of the situation.

Commenting on the situation, Jyoti Mayal, Vice Chairperson, FAITH and President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said that people are going to become very anxious about the entire situation because they have all planned the trips between India and Canada.

“The move is going to affect tourism a lot. There are a lot of bookings that are already been done. A lot of people’s passports are lying in the embassies. There will be a lot of cancellations coming through. People are going to become very anxious about the entire situation because they have all planned the trips, and it will impact students as well with the presence of a large Indian diaspora in Canada. Parents are going to panic, so I think there’s going to be a lot of turmoil for the next many days till the time there’s a resolution or a solution provided,” she said.

A noteworthy aspect of this development is the burgeoning number of Indians travelling to Canada, especially for educational purposes. Canadian universities have witnessed a steady influx of Indian students, with post-graduate studies being particularly favoured. In 2022, Indians constituted a substantial 40 per cent of the total international students studying in Canada.

India-Canada row: MEA announces temporary suspension of visa services citing security reasons

In a press conference, Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), informed that the government is closely monitoring the situation and will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis. “Those in Canada who possess valid visas to India or those who have OCIs are free to travel to India,” he added.

The Indian student population in Canada on study visas has surged beyond the 3-lakh mark, underscoring the robust educational ties between the two countries. However, the visa suspension does not affect individuals who already possess a valid Indian visa or hold an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.

On the other hand, Rajiv Mehra, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) said that the visa suspension will adversely affect the foreign tourist arrival in the country as Canada is an crucial tourist source market for India.

“There is no clarity whether travel between both countries will also be suspended after the visa suspension. Booking will get impacted however we are waiting for more clarity on the issue. For those planning travel to India, it would adversely impact the foreign tourist arrival as Canada is a major source market for us,” he mentioned.

Crucially, the duration of the visa suspension remains uncertain, contingent on the resolution of the diplomatic impasse between India and Canada. No official announcement has been made regarding the timeline for the resumption of visa services.

Additionally, amidst the diplomatic discord, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has urged Indian students residing in Canada to register with the High Commission of India or Consulates General of India through the #MADAD portal. This directive seeks to ensure the welfare and safety of Indian students in light of the ongoing tensions between the two nations.

Families of Indians living in Canada worried amid strained diplomatic ties

The escalating diplomatic row between India and Canada has left many families in Punjab anxious. Canada is one of the preferred countries for people from Punjab to study and settle down. The Indian government’s latest move to suspend visa services in Canada has also upset the plans of Canadian citizens who wish to visit their native places in Punjab.

  • Published On Sep 22, 2023 at 06:10 PM IST

Join the community of 2M+ industry professionals

Subscribe to our newsletter to get latest insights & analysis.

Download ETTravelWorld App

  • Get Realtime updates
  • Save your favourite articles

Scan to download App

Source link